Throughout the asphalt inner city core,
the struggles for attainment and success
are hemmed in clutter and the crowded floor,
the fear of losing driven by noblesse.
The workers in this hive with deft command
can navigate the paper and the pace,
they know that only rested minds can stand
the pressures of the job and making chase.
On weekends these marauders slow it down,
they make their way to open space, withdrawn
from paper jungles or the tux and gown,
and search for solitude and dreams foregone.
he succeeds in blending in,
while he waxes nonchalant.
Indeed, he'd rather be
anything but recognized,
just another sapling
camouflaged by the forest.
Every now and then
he is freed from his cocoon
and shows brilliantly
his talent for spectacle,
as crippling stage fright
releases its hold on him
ever so slightly.
Whispers become raucous songs,
telling the world, "Look at me!"
Beware the road least traveled, for
it ambles over hills and plains,
avoiding mainstream's common traps,
while risking transcendental pains.
A tightrope sans a safety net,
the road to triumph and romance,
winds on without regard, as if
its feats are made by happenstance.
Most efficacious lives parade
intrepid hearts and daring souls,
but media is loath to make
reports on unsuccessful goals.
Beware, the road least traveled may
escort prosperity away.
I left on a whim.
Where will this country road lead?
Not that it matters...
Will the next hamlet I find
embrace or turn me away?
I strolled away from city noise,
away from strain and crowds,
Superior grants strength and calm,
despite her nimbus clouds.
At lake's edge I can sit and stare
horizon's curved and lonely cusp
live those who share my bond.
For I could sense those roustabouts
who stroll to water's edge
and gaze at distant shores where I
now sit near leafy sedge.
They, too, would need their time away
from work and all they feared,
I wondered if daydreams of me
came calling while they peered.
I sighed and left the peaceful scene,
recharged and ready, though
I still recalled the unseen shore
and those I yearned to know.
The heron flies with neck retracted, short,
Unlike its friend, the long-necked, graceful swan,
and though they're known by egret, also sport
the moniker of bittern, now foregone.
No easy life, these water fowl dwell on,
with fish entrapped when fortunate to dine.
They nest, find marshy ground to build upon
or teeter on a branch with keen design.
The "lady of the waters" in decline
as wetlands shrink from man's intruding use,
the heron is oblivious to signs
of human disregard and land abuse.
They stalk their prey and stab with sharpened beak
while unaware of avian mystique.
on frigid wings,
traipses through them,
winter's not here,
The night oppresses my regretful mind
until perception of a dream can start-
I soon behold relationships enshrined
in galleries of existential art.
I haven't managed friendships very well,
and ego shares so much of useless blame,
past comrades speak in voices keen to tell
that guilt produced the man that I became.
Artistic walls of confidantes profess
remorse is human, letting you rebound.
I try to wake myself, without success;
my friends in vivid colors gather round.
The walls become a ceiling's lucid hues,
a dreamt relief when clashing with the blues.
I miss girders, joists,
and vast swinging cranes tending
tall towers of steel.
Construction is now delayed--
Who stole my erector set?
Another excursion, another small town,
a southwest sabbatical starting to drag,
with similar Main Streets and storefronts of brown,
each quaint city hall and its wind-tattered flag.
I'm walking in Prescott in midsummer heat,
deciding to stroll off the main boulevard,
on Whiskey Row Alley, the signs would repeat,
where once drunken locals had staggered and sparred.
A wall of dried stucco and paint would appear,
a colorful mural that seemed out of place,
depicting the past with such passion and cheer,
and each painted person as one to embrace.
The artists took care to present in best light
historic events and the ones who took part,
with pride, it was obvious, bold, yet polite,
I stare at the beauty they sought to impart.
I think of my feeling when first I arrived,
No matter the look of a township's confines,
the age of the sidewalks, if businesses thrived,
a city is people, not buildings and signs.
Jack has published over 350 poems in his career, many with his own photography. He specializes in a view of the commonplace and Americana.