The Wayfarer’s Boon

March 8, 2017


for Wendy Houstoun


may you never lay your head
down on a pillow in the Premier
Inn with some body loudly
snoring in the adjacent bed
room; and may you

never be beset on trains
by some body crunching
crisps and humus and pitta
bread or sucking Kit
Kats in the seat behind you; and

may you never lose your weirdness even
when the ways of wonder peter out in deserts
industrial parks and dead lands and may you ever be firm
in your force in the missing skin that now and then
lets too much of this mad world seep in.


when I was young and
foolish I hitch-hiked through France
and Italy, thrice, Rome, Sicily and on

my third trip by a campfire I traded
traveller’s tales with an older American
freak who told me

about this anthropologist who’d
gone to Mexico and eaten mushrooms
and peyote and had his map his

model of reality taken apart and put
back together in another dimension and so
the anthropologist becomes a brujo, a sorcerer

only by when I was older if not much
wiser it seemed that maybe Carlos Castaneda
had dreamed it all up in the UCLA library and never

gone to the desert with his Yaqui maestro brujo
Don Juan and libraries world-wide were discreetly
moving his books from the ‘Anthropology’ to the Fiction shelves


real or imagined it seemed to me that fact or
fiction Don Juan had revealed some mighty truths
in a racy language we could all get; like he said: all paths

lead nowhere, but some are paths with heart and when
you walk a path with heart, you know it and get it and it makes
you strong and fearless and free.

May it.


some call me
a shaman, a magician; once
I called myself one, my John Crow

started out a joke, a prank, a literary
persona, the shaman
as showman; then

people believed me and before
I knew it I’d become the character I thought
to create, and had to walk the weird walk;

and here
I am, still walking the long and lonely road under fathomless
stars and sometimes it feels like a curse and a burden – and: ‘did I choose or

was I chosen?’ and do I walk
only to conjure meaning where meaning
is there none – and on a good night, a blessing

and a boon. Open roads
for the wayfarer; no destination but laughter
and stories; songs by campfires

meetings with kindred, weird
walkers – and moon and stars to guide her
on her way.

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