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Why Do We Travel?

by Geoffrey Himes

For the two-hundredth consecutive day,

I am sitting at my desk, as if locked in a cell

by a jailkeeper disguised as a virus.

I am wondering where I might travel

when I’m finally paroled.

I am dreaming of a red-tiered pagoda

stacked above a lakeside willow tree.

I am dreaming of a shimmering cascade,

a silver ribbon unspooling off a cliff.

I am dreaming of the hushed breathing

of an oil painting on a museum wall.


Why this urge to get up from this chair,

drag a duffel bag from the parking lot 

to the terminal, squeeze into a plane seat,

and taxi to the hotel, just to see

one more castle and cathedral?

What’s the allure of such an abrupt change of scene?

Isn’t this simple routine sufficient?

The quiet morning time for writing,

the daily walk across the Stony Run Bridge,

the baking of bread, the boiling of soup,

the reading of books, the washing of dishes?

The tender wife and her caustic husband 

cuddled under quilts as the moon crosses the window?

Geoffrey Himes’s poetry has been published by December, Gianthology, the Delaware Poetry Review, Survision, January Review, Salt Lick, the Baltimore City Paper and other publications. His song lyrics have been set to music by Si Kahn, Walter Egan, Billy Kemp, Fred Koller and others.  His book on Bruce Springsteen, “Born in the U.S.A.,” was published by Continuum Books in 2005. He has written about popular music and theater for the Washington Post, New York Times, Rolling Stone, Smithsonian Magazine, Paste, Downbeat, Sing Out and the Nashville Scene since 1977. He has been honored for Music Feature Writing by the Deems Taylor/ASCAP Awards (2003, 2005, 2014 and 2015), the New Orleans Press Awards, the Abell Foundation Awards and the Music Journalism Awards. His stage musical, “A Baltimore Christmas Carol,” broke box office records at the Patterson Theatre in Baltimore in 2004. 

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