Goes Away

Where one leak seemed fixed, another springs up.  Well, isn’t that the way it goes?  Stained wood, stained mattress.  Damp kitchen, scary room.

Stove going.  I was in the dirty attic.  Three-legged chairs, canceled checks, dauber nests by the hundred.  I go up there because the attic is my place to intercept the rain that finds its way through the farmhouse’s old, fallible roof.  Like me, the rain keeps returning, keeps coming back to this remote piece of cattle country in the middle of the state.  

A mist rises from the pasture, hangs there like a cloud.  Above, the sky is clear.  There is, thank God, no wind.  It is still.  I can hear nothing but the nothing that is, the nothing that once will be everything.  If you would be so kind as to scatter my ashes here.  If you would allow me to play the part of the sandstone, to let the water through.

The mice are back.  Two traps, old cheese, picked clean.  Leave the droppings where they lay.  Wise rodents.  Re-bait, try again...

A short missive from Farm, from late last year...

Physical Former

1. It is tomorrow here already.
When the vodka's gone
it means we have to sleep
And I don't want to sleep—ever!

2. Turning and twisting.
What was all that law school for?
Those early mornings, Austin city
bus, statutes, prescription glasses,
hard attitude, I
Never wrote the checks. I only ever
sued one "person," one dumb city and
It was a win but
what is that victory now?

The rest of the poem...

Tijuana Exodus & Old Tricks in San Diego

13:04. I'm in my room, 1415, at the Westin San Diego. This is two hours in the room I didn't think I'd have. Because check-in isn't until three o'clock. I'm grateful.

I've looked at myself in the mirror. I look rough! My cheeks are approaching brick red, or burgundy. I stink!

First order of business is a full-on shower. Then some walkin' around, looking perhaps for a notebook store. Then I'm going to that burrito place I went to a year ago. I'm-a get two burritos, one for this afternoon, one for dinner...

Continue with this short travel essay...

Tijuana Mission Trip 2.0

We're between mountains, like in Colorado, or Utah. Wall! Border wall. To our left, to the north. Contiguous. Iron? A rusty red. Eight feet high? It cuts into the hillside.

Suddenly it's a little greener. Wind in the palms. Some flattening out. By the looks of it, the playa at camp will be windy. Stones, boulders on the hillsides. I've lost sight of the wall as we've tended south.

This is a smooth road. Turning to the south. Large round boulders. Accesso planta dart. Windmill. This is the back way into camp. It has a rural feel but there's actually quite a few plants or factories back in here. The road has gotten very rocky. A metal structure manufacturer. Galvanization. A burned area. Car carcasse. Lots of old tires. A guy in a chair under the shade of a tree just looking out at the road. Railroad.

We take a right onto a much smoother, paved road. There are lots of cars stopped on the side of this road. There are canopies set up. Lots of them. Is it a market? We're close to camp. Turning right, I know this road. There's the old, snub-nosed flatbed lorry. The silo-like red cylinder lying on its side. Dust! At 14:42 we are at the Amor Hacienda Camp...

Continue with this Tijuana 2019 travelogue...

Versus the Wind While Camped Near a Failing Farmhouse

Oak tree at Lee-Vaughan Farm (photo courtesy Patrick Vaughan)

I know it knows we are here.
As we talk about the wind it quiets off.
It collects itself in the far corner of the field,
takes a running start, launches at us again.

It seems to want something.  I wonder
if it takes as much pleasure in sending a tent
flying as we take in seeing a tent on the move.

It translates a gunshot, it stokes the fire.
It pries metal from the shed,
it pulls the hat from your head.  

It opens one door, slams another.  
It absconds with the coffee filters.
It leaves dirt on the doorstep,
it tries to speak in the trees.

It takes popcorn from the plate
but doesn’t eat it.
It takes twenty dollars from the ledge
but doesn’t spend them.
It loosens your hair in the air
but it does not love you.

The wind is how hay stretches
It is how rock changes color
It is where the smoke goes

But at dusk
the wind follows the light
over the wide horizon.
We unpack our things
and lay them about
like feathers.

As a fire burns
we listen to
a whip-poor-will
sing into the still air
of the night
as it winnows
its lonesome away.

Billy tending to a tent on the move (photo courtesy Patrick Vaughan)

Misc. Haiku 61-65

When I closed my eyes
The sun went behind a cloud,
And it was Friday

I can remember
When I didn’t even know
What Lowe’s was

On a branch silhouetted
By my neighbor’s window,
A cardinal braces

In the midst
Of a roaring party,
An old coffee cup, broken

As I wonder
At a light bulb —
It bursts in my face

Coffee Shop Audio Sketch

Third cup.Jazz.A man is talking with Ray the barista.Hum of refrigerator.Coins. Tip money dropped in a glass jar.Coffee maker — frothy release of steam, metal stirring along metal.Drums. Piano. Saxophone.Fridge door closes; cushioning.Ray greets a customer, “How’s it going?”She orders a latte mocha triple shot.Talk of parking, a popular topic this morn.Coins again.Ray laughs.Air ducts … Continue reading Coffee Shop Audio Sketch

Misc. Haiku 51-55


What’d I write last night?
The morning is coffee
And looking through notebooks


Twenty-eight and still too scared
To say thrice into the mirror,
“Bloody Mary?”


Moon at an acme
That no company could match —
Din of merger news


Kerouac’s best haiku
Were the ones that went


A retreat
Into alcoholism, no
Not me

Leaving Aus-town

Actually, my knee is aching, and so is my back.  I’ve been packing things.  Got up at 4:34.  The garbage truck.  Did you hear it?  Banging mechanical arm, squealing brakes, beeping as it backs up.  That’s the last time I’ll ever hear it.  I’m drinking some iced coffee.  Ate a slice of toast with peanut butter.  Have showered, taken the pizza box to the trash, updated my blog.  Wow, I’m nearly ready to start drinkin’ again though it’s only 8:50.

Bad heartburn, though.  Need to get some meds for that, pepto or Immodium, Tagamet?  Don’t think I’ve ever had Tagamet.  Drinking some water.  Was not dehydrated this morning although I rinsed out four cans of Guinness, a bottle of pinot grigio, a couple Red Hook IPAs, a Bud Light, a big Lagunitas IPA, and our highball glasses...

The short story continues...