We received some terrific poems on the theme of travel, to honor poetry month — that was April, but we forgot to give you a deadline at first, and really, isn’t every month poetry month?
We asked for poems of no more than 14 lines, on the theme of travel.
We were impressed by the submissions. Here are poems by Elvis Airohi, Elinor Mattern, Jennifer Poteet and Zandt Wyntrees. Here they are!
By Elinor Mattern
They make things out of slate and shale
in Wales, like fences and shingles and rooftops. A sundial in a valley that rarely sees the sun: three narrow fingers of flinty sliced rock reach toward a darkening sky,
and on every train a kindly voice reminds us
to mind the gap, making me think of gaps between my real life and this trip, the edges between befores and afters. Selvedge. You and me.
Later I sit in a chair in a salon called “Rush,” my sneakers sopping after speed-walking
fifteen blocks in London’s famous rain.
Craig washes my hair, then combs me out, tells me he wanted to be an architect, till his mum got the idea for him to do hair. I’ll pick the back up a bit, he says; Cut it in such a way that you can move it ’round however you want. Tina brings me pomegranate tea and Lindor chocolates. My clothes are drying; I am warming.
Craig chuckles, kids the guy next to him when he drops his precious scissors,
explains to me that he paid 1,000 quid for them, and now they’ll never be the same.
I’ll continue it ’round and layer it, he says,
so this part falls on top of the wedge
in the back here.
I saw a bride and her groom in a Costa coffee shop when I ducked in to get out of the rain to check my map. They looked completely dry. Mysteriously, remarkably
untouched by the storm outside.
By Elvis Ohis Airohi
As my path goes,
So my ends must mix,
With the luxuries,
Of cultural diversity,
As i travel on bends,
To see my friends,
Where distance descends,
To coastal trends,
I must travel,
Lest i be in the gravel,
Of old routines,
To clip past many betweens,
I know pleasures would come,
As my childlike self in fifteens.
By Zandt Wyntrees
Our backyards are our sanctuaries
Where we invite those of our choosing
Into our tired and true, safe worlds.
Our driveways –
Launching Pads to Brand New, Brave New Worlds!!!
Be there anything out there scarier than that?!
How Many of us Just Stay Parked and never even attempt a journey?
O, the opportunities for travel we are afforded these days …
And how affordable they have become!
Yet, for Many, it Still ends up being
Not about Where we travel,
Instead, the Circles in which we travel.
There be no Travel
Advantages of Smoking at Night
By Jennifer Poteet
The sodden Montreal night is stolen and foreign.
It’s June and a ceramic lion lazes
in the limestone window across the street. I smoke
expensive, imported Marlboros, bought with MasterCard.
The lion rolls out against the shade,
his silhouetted length pulled thin as I am
after long days of travel. I exhaust each precious cigarette
to nub, American writer displaced and vaguely European
on the first night before classes. My gray exhale evaporates
into purple sky. Wrought iron lampposts luxuriate
in the rain; they will be even wetter in memory.
A late bus slides to the curb. It pulses: Cotes-des-Neiges.
All the seats are empty
and every window thrown wide open.