Category Archives: Cascadian Byways

poems written in and around Cascadia, often traveling by train or ferry

Juniper Road

Juniper road
Umitilla highlands
the pass heads straight down
to the straight road
into Pendleton

High as radio waves
past towers, o’er canals
Burley in the distance
moon just shy of half
just enough though
to light the stars

The Smallest Town

The smallest town possible
is a hamlet i guess
Sublett, Idaho
(or Utah?)
no matter
i’ve gone twice

Columbia Daunted but Still Roils

One way these track run
into the elevator
and onto Mt Hood

Turning east
stopped by wooden fence
dam the beyond
columbia daunted
but stil roils

stunted but strong
regressed to measure and
water spreads
thinner than gold
every fiefdom wants a piece so they
bridge it
dam and tame it

rocks and monuments
observe the folly
silt builds up behind
water cool ahead
moving beyond memories
of drowned villages and
uncovered artifacts
entombed, enshrined
only the tugboats
come close

barge drifting
silos wait
trains slip past
and columbia rolls

Railyards Passing By

Journeys delayed 
undertaken, tossed
past fields of weakness
past trestle stretch

Long past the hazel fields
with storage sheds of secrets
where cul-de-sacs dead end
full of empty fields

Glassy roof, volcano top
early whiskey with ginger-ale
forthrightly speed past
railyards of enterprise
waiting on a signal

Hard fought coincidence
leaving me on time
you’ve won the anecdotes
and left me the prize

Double-loaded dump truck
grey-blue against the green
spring fast jaded 
as though an accident,
mistaken incident of mine

Fresh grass growing
burst past the blackened mold
hay-bale cut for winter
first browned – forgotten and 
settled to waste

Along a hidden railway yard
seen flashing past,
maybe noticed by someone
who might live there 
or just be passing past –
not a stranger
just someone who doesn’t make it by
except when the train leaves or
the cherry blossoms bloom early,
perhaps only to confuse the birds

Coastal Starlight

Coastal starlight
rolling alright
through the moonlight
Past the cedar trees

Puget sound
in the distance
beaches covered with
weathered dreams

Sammamish crescent
Chuckanut parkway
bottle of klickitat red

one long toke now
on the back bench
as we pull through
the darkened hill

drifting nicely
and watching closely
white volcanos
up ahead

i’ve read about
all these mountains
in books by snyder,
old smoke blanchard
and poor dead jean

Riprap pathways
Adams gleaming
in distant
haze up’head

Junipers and scrub oak
give way to spruce
and river camps
where explorers lay

Ahh Cascadian byways
Coastal starlight
With bottle of beside me
of Klickatat red

I’ve watched the junipers
give way to cedars
and seen the volcanos
fade away

If there no mudslides
or strange derailments
soon i’ll be
back home in bed

I stopped in Portland
for the Crystal Ballroom
and in Centralia
for some beer

Left Olympia
far behind me
and Fairhaven’s
just getting near

I’ll trust that
you’ll be waiting
at the grey station
terminal at main

Engine running
three in th’morning
take me home
i won’t complain

terminal city
gets a bit sketchy
and i’d rather
not get robbed

i am worn now
but feeling happy
waiting in stations
and railing lines

i’ve not forgotten
the columbia gorge
at those moments
just a’fore sunset time

Pacific Coast Highway

Down the by-way
Pacific coast highway
It’s my driveway
Since we left
On Boxing day

We left on yesterday
and took the slow way
past manzanita
through to redway

Drove to Phillipsville
into the redwoods
Ate ceviche
at the haunted roadhouse

Headed north
on New years day
took the hard way
o’er siskyou hills

Took turns
driving the curves
rain clouds settle
watch sequoias
grow an inch a day

across the bridges
rolling southway
to pacifica
we’ll sleep well there
til the new day

Couldn’t be greener
onto mendicino
and the open ocean
drop off the sides

On the byway
Pacific coast hi-way
It’s my drive way
all day today

left on boxing day
took the slow day
past manzanita
to redwoods today

then on news years day
take the hard way
heading northwards
o’er icy hills

Temporary Lighthouses

Beyond the aspens
three of us
together fast

Please let me go now
the tension is just
a bit too much
to last

No no she says now
let me go he goes
just wander
into trees

There you say now
go on together
twos easier
than we three

Into the aspens
white birch maple
and mystery

The three of us
not too soon
she sang again
riding free

Swerved around right
can’t bump the road
on the empty cold
desert night


Windy days
and beach front fires
lighthouses calling
you away

I don’t mind
suppose it’s better
i’ll keep a mind
to remember
nights together in the aspen grove
before foothill evening
turned into today