Archives for posts with tag: travel

yosemite adams
Duplex: Where Everything Gets Unraveled Just Right*
by Jonathan Yungkans

The lake glittered as if weightless and we laughed.
Birds rested and twittered on the tree of me.

          Foliage shattered, the perched flock startled.
          Bird flights like mountain roads—soaring curves and bends.

Mountain road climbed, twisted toward Yosemite.
I was seven. The ocean heaved out of me.

          The ocean heaved. Dad eased our camper truck down.
          Side road, thick with pines, led to a riverbank.

Walls of thick pines to a fabric skein of water.
Sun shone through loose strands, sparkled through the weave.

          Sun pulled loose as it sparkled through the weave.
          Its reflection flashed, a grin in the water.

The water washed a smile into me.
Weightless, the lake glittered as we both laughed.

*Title taken from the poem “From Palookaville,” in the collection Hotel Lautréamont by John Ashbery. 

An earlier version of this poem appeared in MacQueen’s Quinterly, Issue 10 (October 2021).

PHOTO: Mirror Lake, Morning, Yosemite National Park, California by Ansel Adams (1928).

AUTHOR’S NOTE ON THE FORM: Jericho Brown combined aspects of the sonnet, ghazal, and blues poem to create the duplex form in 2018. It is a 14-line poem written in two-line stanzas, in which the second line of one stanza is echoed in the first line of the following one. Each line runs between nine and eleven syllables and is meant to stand, in the strictest use of the form, as an independent entity. The opening line is repeated, or at least echoed, at the close to bring the poem full-circle. While I have treated the form somewhat more loosely in several of my other duplexes, I have tried to remain on better behavior here. I have also written a craft essay on my use of the form, which appeared in MacQueen’s Quinterly.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This is the one memory of family vacations which has stayed with me consistently. (Since my mom raised and showed collies and Shetland sheepdogs for about 20 years while I was growing up, many of our weekends were taken up with dog shows and other business-related activities.) We were on our first vacation, on the outskirts of Sequoia National Forest in Central California. I got violently carsick while riding in the upper bunk of our cabover camper through a winding mountain road. Mom walked my brother and me down to the lake while Dad took care of the mess. I was scared and felt guilty. It didn’t help that I wasn’t a happy kid in general—I was mainly quiet, afraid to say peep. Maybe it was the sight of another family splashing and having fun just offshore, or maybe the river really seemed to laugh and smile to cheer me up. Regardless of why, it worked.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jonathan Yungkans continues to write while working as an in-home health-care provider. This gives him time to catch his breath and imbibe copious amounts of coffee while staying connected to humanity in something approaching a constructive manner. His writing and photography have appeared in MacQueen’s Quinterly, Panoply, Synkroniciti, and other publications. His second poetry chapbook, Beneath a Glazed Shimmer, was published by Tebot Bach in 2021.

Cradled moon
Armchair Voyager
by Betsy Mars

No carbon offsets required, I travel
the world with David Attenborough,
admire the courting rituals of the bower birds
who take such care with their homes
while I decorate for holidays no one observes.

I stop the drafts, insulate, isolate. Try
not to spread: viruses, waste,
hopelessness, my sense of dread.

Taking out recycling I look to the sky,
the dark thick with stars, and below
near the roofline, the moon in a cloud cradle,
swathed in down—a gentle nightlight aglow.

Inside I turn off lights, wrap myself in fleece,
add another layer, consider the beauty
to be found, even above this suburban town,
a tiny slice of peace.

PHOTO: Cradled Moon by Betsy Mars.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Betsy Mars is a tree-hugging, bleeding-heart poet and photographer who seems to have always had a soft spot for the environment and all creatures, great and small. From childhood she gravitated to water and to green environments, but she has lately found herself also appreciating the resilience and adaptations of those living in the desert—maybe a natural evolution as she ages and adapts. As the mother of two adult children, she is especially concerned with the future of the planet. Her work has appeared in One Art, Sheila-Na-Gig, Sky Island, Verse Virtual, and many other fine publications. She is the author of the poetry collection Alinea and co-author, with Alan Walowitz, of In the Muddle of the Night. For more, visit her at and find her on Facebook.

Afternoon on Torcello
by Gail Tirone

In the shade of the portico
my son sleeps, head on his father’s lap
the deep sweet breaths
of a four-year-old finally at rest
after chasing pigeons in Piazza San Marco
after close calls near small canals
deep sweet boy-breaths
in the shadow of the 7th century church

My daughter and I wander
the Byzantine basilica
our footsteps echoing on 7th century stones
decoding Roman numerals
on the tombs of ancient bishops
marveling at saints’ bodies
silk-wrapped relics encased in glass
lighting tall tapers
whispering prayers for relatives long dead

With chubby fingers she tests the holy waters
all in the reflection of a gently curved nave
mosaic of golden glass
where a blue-robed madonna presides
dispensing the absolution for which
I am still waiting
The patient madonna
greets new generations of children
with their sweet breaths and curious steps
on her old stones

We climb the campanile
set after set of rickety wooden steps
narrow, confining
a spiral skeleton leading
to two bronze bells
that start to ring the hour
the moment we reach the summit

The deafening clang of bronze
declares the certainty of this place
this place that has been here
for over a thousand years—and isn’t going anywhere
a place that knows why it is here
and what it is about

Later at Locanda Cipriani
the children play in the gardens
as my husband and I sip cool Tocai
and reminisce about travels in days past
days less encumbered by careers, possessions—and offspring
days once filled with poetry, romance and wine

“To two out of three,” he toasts
We spend a sweet hour
remembering who we are
and how we got here.

PAINTING: Basilica di Santa Maria Della Salute, Venice by John Miller.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Poetry illuminates individual experiences and the collective human experience. I hope the reader gleans some of both from this poem. Small epiphanies. When reading a poem, that spark of recognition engenders connection—which we could all use more of these days.

gail tirone

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Gail Tirone is originally from New York, and now lives in Texas. She was a featured guest poet in several Houston Poetry Fests, and is a Best of the Net nominee. Gail has a B.A. from Princeton University and M.A. in English Literature from the University of Houston. Her poetry has appeared in Mediterranean Poetry, Blue Heron ReviewSulphur River Review, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Free China Review, The Weight of Addition Anthology (Mutabilis Press), and elsewhere.

san francisco joseph kenny
Beach Blanket Babylon Is Gone, Ferlinghetti Too
by Howard Richard Debs

The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco—apocryphal Twainism

July 1990
I remember
my first time
in San Francisco
not wanting to
miss a thing:
the Golden Gate
Bridge, that majestic
span, symbol of
American ingenuity,
Chinatown, sampling
much too much dim sum,
the best they said this side
of Shanghai, block after
block of Asian wonders
engage the ear and eye
down an alleyway
I peered into
a fortune cookie
factory where I
found the secret
of how those little
slips of paper get inside.
I ride the Powell/Hyde
cable car arriving
at Fisherman’s Wharf,
Ghirardelli Square,
to indulge in chocolates,
considered there to be
important, rivaling
halibut and sole.
I took the boat tour out
to Alcatraz, the place
they call The Rock,
the churning waves of
San Francisco Bay
ominous and cold
matching with the edifice
it harbors. I explored the
neighborhoods, Japantown,
Little Russia, the Castro,
Nob Hill and ventured
to North Beach to
pay homage at
Ferlinghetti’s City Lights
echoing the cadence
of the Beat Generation.
Mere steps away
I discovered Beach
Blanket Babylon, a
unique San Francisco
treat, the revues at
Club Fugazi turned
spoofing into an artform,
the exaggerated costumes
and caustic humor pointed
a finger at any who dared
to place themselves above
the rest. I saw an article
the other day noting
that the troupe no longer plays,
a casualty of the changing times.
So Beach Blanket Babylon
is gone now, Ferlinghetti too
yet—I am still waiting for
another show, another Howl.

PHOTO: Columbus Avenue, San Francisco, California, with City Lights Bookstore in right foreground and the Transamerica Pyramid in center background (September 2015). Photo by Joseph Kenny, used by permission.

San Francisco Bridge_0001

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Herb Caen, the San Francisco humorist and journalist whose column appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle for almost 60 years, dubbed the city Baghdad by the Bay in recognition of the cosmopolitan cultural diversity it shares with the Middle Eastern city. Another humorist and journalist who for a time called San Francisco home was Mark Twain, but the words of the quote attributed to him about the city’s weather most likely are not his. He enjoyed living there, writing in Roughing It, “I fell in love with the most cordial and sociable city in the Union.” During Twain’s time in San Francisco, a literary movement was imperceptibly taking place against the propriety that perpetuated Victorian tastes. The constrictive standards of the day started giving way to a new way of writing, an American way. So in its history the City by the Bay became a prime example of how an environment of cultural diversity spawns both vibrancy and stimulates creative endeavor. It is no coincidence that during the 1950s San Francisco became the hub of the avant-garde in the visual and performing arts, and of course poetry. My own journey as a poet led me to the Black Mountain poets including Robert Duncan and Robert Creeley, both closely associated with the so-called San Francisco Renaissance—an interest that was an impetus to undertake my first pilgrimage to the Bay Area. Who knows where and when there will be further evolution in the arts? We are waiting.

PHOTO: The author at the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco (1990).

Beach Blanket Babylon_0001

PHOTO:  The author’s treasured keepsake, the program from Beach Blanket Babylon and the ticket from the performance he attended.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Howard Richard Debs is a recipient of the 2015 Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Awards. His essays, fiction, and poetry appear internationally in numerous publications. His photography is featured in select publications, including in Rattle online as “Ekphrastic Challenge” artist and guest editor. His book Gallery: A Collection of Pictures and Words (Scarlet Leaf Publishing), is the recipient of a 2017 Best Book Award and 2018 Book Excellence Award. His latest work is the chapbook Political (Cyberwit). He is co-editor of New Voices: Contemporary Writers Confronting the Holocaust, forthcoming in later 2021 from Vallentine Mitchell of London, publisher of the first English language edition of the diary of Anne Frank. He is listed in the Poets & Writers Directory.

San Francisco by Lee Otis
What Am I Still Waiting For
by Terrence Sykes

I am still waiting
for this fog to lift
from my mizzle laden brain
from these steep city streets
rain of course lies in wait
but what do I wait for

city lights draw me in
comfort for a wayward
never felt in place soul
yet my soles are bare
like these bare bones
of unknowing

bare knuckles
from the daily grin
grinding my teeth
as I toss in restless waiting
for sleep or my dream or plans
to come but what lies in wait

when will I know that
I will never find yet
do I wait in Coney Island
or have I waited in San Fran
will I ever quote or question
am I still waiting

PHOTO: San Francisco, California (Polaroid) by Lee Otis (2009).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I asked myself…what am I waiting for…this surreal pandemic to end and begin a normal life and to travel…go back to San Francisco and eat and eat and of course…visit City Lights Bookstore.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Although Terrence Sykes is a far better gardener-forager-cook…his poetry-photography-flash fiction have been published in Bangladesh, Canada, Ireland, India,  Mauritius, Pakistan, Scotland, Spain, and the USA…he was born and raised in the rural coal mining area of Virginia and this  isolation brings the theme of remembrance to his creations — whether real or imagined.

iceland poster
Best-Laid Plans
by Cynthia Anderson

What happens to a dream deferred?
—Langston Hughes

In the 1960s, the preteen girl
who is me scours her local library
in a small New England town
devouring what they have

on Iceland. My paradise—
a place where everyone cares
about poetry, where books
are the national pastime

and there are more authors,
and readers, per capita
than any other country
on Earth—

not to mention
glaciers and volcanoes
hot springs and waterfalls
the wild rocky coast—

Land of the Eddas!
I imagine belonging there
in ways I’ll never
belong here.

The dream freezes
but doesn’t die. Finally,
retired, I have the time,
money, a friend to go with.

We book the trip
for April 2020—
then COVID explodes.
At least, we get a refund.

So I am still waiting
for Iceland—unlikely
to try again, as global
warming worsens

and my need to stay
home grows stronger—
deferred dreams
can live forever.

IMAGE: Iceland travel poster by 12thStFactory. Prints available at

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I couldn’t believe my good fortune in finally booking a trip to Iceland, a lifelong dream. I planned to attend the Iceland Readers’ Retreat with a friend in April 2020—10 days of total immersion in Icelandic culture and literature. Then, as COVID unfolded, I watched in stunned disbelief as my long-deferred dream went unfulfilled. However, I continue to enjoy all things Icelandic from the comfort of home.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Cynthia Anderson lives in the Mojave Desert near Joshua Tree National Park. A Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, she has published nine poetry collections, most recently Now Voyager with illustrations by Susan Abbott. She is co-editor of the anthology A Bird Black As the Sun: California Poets on Crows & Ravens and guest editor of Cholla Needles 46. Visit her at

snorkler burdeny 1960
Snorkeling with Jesus
Keawakapu Beach, Kihei, Maui
by Carolyn Martin

Don’t even think of it! Walking on waves
without a paddleboard is embarrassing.
Anyway, we’ve agreed it’s your undercover day.

Over here. Let’s settle in the shade of this plumeria.
After years at the Jersey Shore, I’ve learned
a careless burn isn’t worth a tan’s vanity.

If you hand me your mask, I’ll show you how
to stop it fogging up. A drop of Spit® swished
around each lens will clear the visibility.

Wait! Before you put it on, tuck your hair
behind your ears. Don’t miss any flighty strands.
You want it sealed tight so water won’t sneak in.

Now fit the snorkel in your mouth and breathe.
Yes . . . it sounds weird and, beneath the waves,
acoustics will be more intense. But focusing

on breath will help you meditate as angels, tangs,
unicorns, butterflies, and – I’m showing off –
humuhumunukunukuapuaas go swimming by.

No, no! Don’t put fins on yet. Wait until you’re floating
in the waves. See that guy who pulled his on
onshore? Another drunken crab scuttling in reverse.
A wetsuit? Are you kidding me?
Boss Frog’s is three miles away and I’ve checked:
Maui’s water is as warm as Galilee’s.

You’re right. The graying coral is disheartening.
Some fish boycott the reefs and locals blame
chemicals lushing-up miles of golf course greens.

No . . . it’s not a good idea to annihilate country clubs.
Tourism would take a hit. Besides, eco-scientists
are working to solve the problem without violence.

One more thing before we head out:
if you should see a turtle entangled
in fishing line – I cried last week

when several struggled by – clap your hands,
say a prayer, do whatever you need to do. Beneath
the waves, no one will see the miracle I allowed you.

Previously published in The Esthetic Apostle. 

PHOTO: Snorkeler (After Misrach), Maui, Hawaii by David Burdeny (2011). 

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I’ve been snorkeling on Maui for a number of years and have the preparation process down to a science. I thought it would be fun to share it with a famous person.

Carolyn Martin

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: From associate professor of English to management trainer to retiree, Carolyn Martin is a lover of gardening and snorkeling, feral cats and backyard birds, writing and photography. Her poems have appeared in more than 130 journals and anthologies throughout North America, Australia, and the UK. Her fifth collection, The Catalog of Small Contentments will be released in 2021. Currently, she is the poetry editor of Kosmos Quarterly: journal for global transformation. Find out more at

How To Survive Winter
by Yvette Viets Flaten

First of all, I plan my escape.
Thumb the cookbooks. Choose
a route, make a shopping list,
assemble my kit and cast myself

Is it to be a weekender escape,
or a long trek into exotica?
Island frivolity or serious meditation?
A seaside paella, or heady Vindaloo?

Shall I bubble my sugo on the back
burner all day, peeling an orange brighter
than the noonday sun? Or thread shashlik
redolent of the noisy Spice Bazaar?

Oh, how far can I travel from the ice
and deepfreeze cold of these winter days,
encumbered like cousin muskox, pawing
at tundra moss? I’ll make myself, then,
tonight, a warm tagine, and tomorrow,
dancing shrimp, basked in olive oil, sanded
with paprika and the salt of sunny seas.

PAINTING: The Palm by Pierre Bonnard (1926).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I love to cook and have collected recipes and cookbooks all my life. Like many others, I turn to the comfort of cooking during the isolated days of the Coronavirus Pandemic. But when the Upper Midwest also goes through the deep freeze temperatures of a Polar Vortex in the depths of winter, cooking becomes even more than a comfort. It becomes a happy escape from home quarantine, or, at 25 below zero, a way to endure what has morphed, quite literally, into house arrest.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Yvette Viets Flaten was born in Denver, Colorado, and grew up in an Air Force family, living in Nevada, North Dakota, and Washington State as well as France, England, and Spain. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish (1974) and a Master of Arts in History (1982) from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. She writes both fiction and poetry and her award-winning poetry has appeared in numerous journals, including the Wisconsin Academy Review, Rag Mag, Midwest Review, Free Verse, Red Cedar Review, and Barstow and Grand. In May 2020 she was interviewed by Garrison Keillor as part of his Pandemic Poetry Contest. Yvette’s poem “Riding It Out” was one of 10 winners. Find her interview with Garrison Keillor here.

krupa 2016
How to Get Lost, Anywhere, Anytime, for No Reason
        How in the world did a person get to be where i was?
                                    Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible
by Ed Ruzicka

Start where streets
that run East-West
radiate off a river so old
it dodders between banks
that loop and rope at their leisure
or off a coast line of Ss and Cs.

Maybe this city’s or that’s
cross streets fall across one another
in an abandoned game of pickup sticks.
Follow your feet. Now evening
can tune its orchestra up while
the maestro waits in the wings.

Sunset glazes shop windows.
Doors three inches thick. Faint
hiss of neon. A dog pees. A horn blasts.

Assume that comes from the harbor.
Walk that way though alleys become
fly-blown and loose fists of men idle
in front of stoops and broken fence lines.

Come out in a small park freckled
with palm trees. Listen to pigeons
whose language can seem closer
to yours than what the locals mutter.

On the other side is the river.
Its traffic churns sluggishly,
as if already wheeling towards sleep
while stars start to prick black air.

PHOTO: The Bicycle, the hat, and the moon by Alfred Freddy Krupa (2016), used by permission.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I went through a period when I was penniless by romantic decree, needed naught but tin cans in the cupboard, fathered insubstantial plans. For wheels, I had a fearless J. C. Higgins bike. That is when I developed a knack for getting lost. If curiosity lends you nine lives, cash in. I don’t think you can really learn a city or a countryside without getting lost. If I once, twice, thrice, in countless places, took pleasure in the openness of an afternoon, please, don’t blame me now, half-retired and back at it. My wife and I soak up what quiet we can on a patio that backs-up to the rest of the world.

Pirate's Cove paint_copyedit copy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ed Ruzicka has published widely including two full length books of poetry. His recent issue, My Life in Cars, is a sort of tell-all-tale in which freedom marries the American highway. Ed began working in his father’s Rexall drugstore at age eight. He became unmoored from Illinois cornfields in 1970 and has traveled widely. He worked as a deckhand, short order cook, oil-field roughneck, tree trimmer, welder’s assistant, barge cleaner, social worker, and more. He settled in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he practices Occupational Therapy and lives with his kind wife, Renee. Visit him at

licensed elena ray 1

We were so inspired by our LANDMARKS Series (June 30-August 27, 2020) that we’ve decided to continue our world tour with a new travel poetry blog called POETRY and PLACES. The blog’s tagline is: “Sharing our travel adventures and celebrating our planet…through poetry.” Our logo is a bird atop a cage, ready to explore — the way many of us feel during the quarantine. Travel poems are a doorway to learn more about the world — geography, architecture, art, climate, nature, history, as well as our fellow humans, and much more.

We look forward to your visit at Learn how to submit your travel or site-related poetry here.

Logo image by Elena Ray, used by permission.