Poem by Seth Howard


 

Drifter of No Destination

Years I had been away. Years the world had passed without me, as I stood
In motion or in stasis. Fragments of my former life

Cast off, the cicada’s filmy shell. I learned again how to breathe, I learned of
The hidden fissures of solitude, and the life of one in continual

Exile. Leaves passed before my eyes, stations in mid-summer heat, a face
I thought I recognized… I took to the road in search of

Something, or nothing. Long bus rides into the country, and the insect words
Of Borges, Kafka, or the steely eye of Hemmingway, Kerouac.

It was the energy, to be on foot for days on end, then to collapse in a ryokan
Or youth Hostel with a thatch roof. How the clouds of Kyoto swept

Across my mind… I dreamt I was somewhere else, on foot, I dreamt of a woman
I had never met. In search of life, of sinews,

Breath. I kept moving, and the stars shivered. Years I had been away, to
Relearn how to live, to speak, years with no thought of return.

Northern village, cool summers and a place away from the world. In my days
Drifting, the flash of a face, a shadow. I gripped the sinews of a

Moment, wrote in poetry of water, air. Breathed in sunsets of lost love, and
Each day, each moment reborn. The urge to live once more,

To live for the first time, fully. Fragments of my former life, I let go, gave myself
To a fleeting dream, a long draught of shadow…

No thought of return, but further, if only to see how far. No thought but to
Exhaust my life energies, to have lived a moment

More fully than life gives. I circled through cites, swept through towns, dark
Hills, mountains, and rest stops in the middle of the night.

I confuse the years, experience layered upon experience, long after I was there
Long, after I syphoned the dregs from life.

Night came, and I shivered in the distance. There were a few girls I remember
There was a motion in the earth. I gave myself to a fleeting dream…

 

Photography © Glenn Bowie

Photography © Glenn Bowie

 

Seth Howard is a graduate of the University of Connecticut with a degree in English Literature. He studied abroad in Japan for three years where he traveled throughout the countryside and to the major cities. He enjoys reading Philosophy and Zen meditation. He currently resides in New London, Connecticut.

Glenn Bowie is a published poet, lyricist and photographer from the Boston area. He also owns and operates an elevator company that supplies custom-built elevators for clients from New England to Hollywood. Author of two poetry and photograph collections (Under the Weight of Whispers and Into the Thorns and Honey) on Big Table Publishing, he donates all profits from his books to various charities for the homeless and local animal shelters. Glenn is also the official photographer for the Newton Writing and Publishing Center.

 

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