The Burl

Sitting in a tree house
looking out
surrounded by nothing but leaves
I am suspended by the handiwork of man
and the cooperation of Mother Nature.

A rare experience
as joyful as it is inspiring
it makes one pause
shouldn’t this be how we live
supported and uplifted by the
work of our own hands.

Much seems to be lost in today’s world
staying here and enjoying this experience
is grounding
even while the thought of being suspended
is ever present on my mind.

Back in Kanab

Friday, February 14, 2020

Kanab Utah


Back in Kanab

Red rock mountains,

Monasteries on high,

Need to explore.

Coffee shops and outfitters,

Art, food, nature,

Coolness abounding.

I think of Watchful Raven,

Where is he now,

Back in Kanab.

Brad Adkins

A Day

Tuesday, December 17, 2019


A Day

some might say it was a wasted day

No. 2 bus to Downtown

in and out of outfitter stores

six Auto-Donuts from the Public Market

more walking

just walking

Street Car to Capital Hill

Light Rail to the University

a Christmas Card

a book of poetry

a Manhattan

a strangely quiet Lyft ride

to the library

return the strangest book

I have read in a long time

try on new glasses

back where I started

not totally wasted

exercise is good

not as good as a cycling tour

but good

i found some inspiration

in the effort

that much a plus

a respite from the

nonsense that is our daily politics

it’s good to be home with you

Brad Adkins

The Country

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

I wrote this poem while I was on my “Southern Tier” bicycle tour. I also kept a journal on the tour, you can read the journal by clicking on the Archive Link at the top of this page and selecting “Southern Tier 2019.”


The Country

What is it like

to ride a bicycle

across the country

  Time

    Distance

      Patience

        Looking Up

          Looking Down

            Pain

              Doubt

                Beauty

                  Love

Those are the words

that come to mind

but how do you put them together

To answer that

you need to get on your bike

and ride just how you like

Brad Adkins

Ferlinghetti Rails

Sunday, November 10, 2019

I wrote this poem while I was on my “Southern Tier” bicycle tour. I also kept a journal on the tour, you can read the journal by clicking on the Archive Link at the top of this page and selecting “Southern Tier 2019.”

I picked up a copy of “A Coney Island of the Mind” by Lawrence Ferlinghetti in a small used bookstore in Silver City, NM. It’s a compendium of poems taken from Ferlinghetti’s earlier works. I’ve been reading it as I have crossed the country. His poetry is deep and has an intellectual bent. He was an accomplished scholar. His contemporaries called him a “beat” poet, which he denied. I agree with his contemporaries. One poem in particular grabbed me. His poem #2 from the 1955 work, “Pictures of the Gone World.” It grabbed me because I have a very different view of life. This poem, that I call “Ferlinghetti Rails” (for reasons you will easily recognize, but also for the intentional pun) is an attempt to present my view. Please forgive me for taking such liberty.


Ferlinghetti Rails

“Love comes harder to the aged.”

I beg to differ.

I don’t want to

“run out on a rusty spur.”

I want to be in the “Saloon car”

with the lovers, “laughing and waving,”

rushing past the spur

where the rails ended

and the aged sit.

Someone has to show the passengers

in the Saloon car

how to live.

Brad Adkins

The Road

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

I wrote this poem while I was on my “Southern Tier” bicycle tour. I also kept a journal on the tour, you can read the journal by clicking on the Archive Link at the top of this page and selecting “Southern Tier 2019.”


The Road

The road is a killer.

The trucks killing machines.

This is how life is,

never swerving.

Could I talk to you,

I would ask you to slow down.

You would tell me to move aside,

for you are in a hurry.

You need to get somewhere soon.

I mourn for all the loss.

Do you mourn as well?

Would things be different

if this conversation were real?

Brad Adkins

Wind

Friday, October 11, 2019

I wrote this poem while I was on my “Southern Tier” bicycle tour. I also kept a journal on the tour, you can read the journal by clicking on the Archive Link at the top of this page and selecting “Southern Tier 2019.”


Wind

The wind

  … blew

The temperature

  … cold

The road

  … narrow

My fingers

  … frozen

The bike

  … swerved

Again and

  … again

The shoulder

  … loomed

Blown off

  … mercilessly

The destination

  … far

Brad Adkins

El Cosmico

Thursday, October 10, 2019

I wrote this poem while I was on my “Southern Tier” bicycle tour. I also kept a journal on the tour, you can read the journal by clicking on the Archive Link at the top of this page and selecting “Southern Tier 2019.”


El Cosmico

The moon is almost full,

wood is burning, warming the water.

Smoke from the fire permeates the air

perfectly.

Not too strong.

I can’t imagine a better place.

I can, but it shall remain a mystery

for now.

I must return here,

to the music playing,

to water perfect temperature,

to the star filled sky and

moon brilliant.

Corded guitar accompanies me,

sounding like symphony

under the stars.

Brad Adkins

Grass

Thursday, October 3, 2019

I wrote this poem while I was on my “Southern Tier” bicycle tour. I also kept a journal on the tour, you can read the journal by clicking on the Archive Link at the top of this page and selecting “Southern Tier 2019.”


Grass

Wild grass has gone to seed,

wind bends the long blades,

they dance along side the road,

dancing in unison, a fractal dance.

The blades brush my leg as I roll by

asking me to stop.

I keep rolling,

much to their disappointment

I imagine.

Looking back,

they appear to be waving.

I roll on,

we agree to disagree.

Brad Adkins

Birds

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

I wrote this poem while I was on my “Southern Tier” bicycle tour. I also kept a journal on the tour, you can read the journal by clicking on the Archive Link at the top of this page and selecting “Southern Tier 2019.”


Birds

I stopped to rest,

the road was long,

the day was hot,

I was tired.

I saw three birds

circling above,

floating on wings stationary,

following each other.

They were in perfect harmony

with the air around them,

it held them up,

effortlessly.

I wondered,

why only three?

Where have the rest

of their flock gone?

Millions upon millions

have been lost,

since my father played

catch with me when I was young.

I want to build them a homeland

free of border walls,

where they can circle

on perfect currents of air.

Soaring freely,

until we can make their home

fit for them to live in again,

elegantly, safely.

Brad Adkins

Lost

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

I wrote this poem while I was on my “Southern Tier” bicycle tour. I also kept a journal on the tour, you can read the journal by clicking on the Archive Link at the top of this page and selecting “Southern Tier 2019.”

When I wrote this poem I was reflecting on the inordinate amount of road kill in the back country of Texas.


Lost

Millions upon millions lost,

since my father played catch with me

when I was young.

Brad Adkins

Good Poem, Bad Poem

Friday, September 20, 2019

I wrote this poem while I was on my “Southern Tier” bicycle tour. I also kept a journal on the tour, you can read the journal by clicking on the Archive Link at the top of this page and selecting “Southern Tier 2019.”


Good Poem, Bad Poem

What makes a good poem?

It might be the rhyme,

Professor Higgins would agree, on a dime.

It could be the meter,

Dr. Seuss would be on your side here.

It might be the use (or not) of capitalization,

e. e. cummings would agree with that.

I say it’s the beholder that decides.

This is a bad poem,

unless,

you like it.

Brad Adkins

Fishing (Or Ode to Sam McGee)

Thursday, September 12, 2019

This post was written while hiking in the Sierra Mountains


Fishing (Or Ode to Sam McGee)

My friends all went fishing.

I stayed behind to be alone,

I sort of like that.

Fishing is a noble pursuit,

One that I am not much suited for.

I would rather read,

or better yet write.

Writing makes me happy.

So does fishing for many.

I suppose we all have our

own weakness to bear.

The sun is going down.

I’m going to go for a walk

and chase it for awhile.

Capture a bit of warmth

and take it into the evening with me.

It’s going to get cold again tonight.

Last night was the coldest I’ve been

In a long time.

I love backpacking,

I love being in the wilderness.

I don’t like being cold.

Brad Adkins

The Lake

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

This post was written while hiking in the Sierra Mountains


The Lake

The lake is a strand of dark blue

surrounded by a ribbon green marsh grass.

Ducks fly in low, landing in sequence, they

form a line paddling to the opposite bank,

their purpose unknown.

How long has this rock I am sitting on

been in this spot.

Certainly since long before I was born,

it will remain here long after

I have passed this way.

Perhaps it has always been here

since the cataclysmic uplift that raised

these mountains,

now, simply being weathered to nothing.

Perhaps it broke from the peak above,

a disobedient child,

and ran away, tumbling and churning

until it came to rest in this spot,

faraway from its place of birth.

I don’t want to leave this spot,

It sings to me of places far away

and sights too beautiful to imagine.

Brad Adkins

Lake and Sky

Sunday, August 25, 2019

This post was written while hiking in the Sierra Mountains


Lake and Sky

The lake is blue like the sky.

The two could be companions,

but the rock surrounding them

Separates them,

preventing them from touching.

Separated,

like people that can’t see eye-to-eye.

Yearning to find common ground,

but unable to reach out and touch.

They rest together,

each justified in their existence,

each no more right then the other,

each waiting on the other.

Brad Adkins

Sim

Saturday, August 24, 2019


Sim

Why are we here.

Are we real, or are we some future sim.

I have flesh,

how can flesh be rendered in code.

I don’t know.

I’ll have to be content to be me,

whomever that is.

Brad Adkins

Ride

Monday, August 19, 2019


Ride

We went for a ride

The ferry took us across the water

Together we conquered the hills

Brad Adkins

Feeling

Friday, August 15, 2019


Feeling

Do I feel good

or do I feel well.

It could be both.

Although,

I have been told

that “good” is not a “feeling”,

it probably is,

at least it is the absence of bad.

I suspect I am well.

How can one be sure.

I am well enough today,

to ride my bike how I like.

Brad Adkins

Dad

Friday, August 2, 2019


Dad

Who is this man?

I barely know him.

He coaches my Little League team.

He knows nothing about Baseball.

His whole life has been striving

to make the goal…

Executive.

He was a lousy golfer,

he didn’t reach his dream.

He accepted us.

He did not want us to speak

unless we were spoken to.

At the end,

I held his hand

and looked into his eyes.

He spoke the words I had

waited a lifetime to hear…

”I couldn’t have asked for a nicer family.”

Brad Adkins

Hills

Saturday, July 27, 2019

This poem was written when I was cycling around the Finger Lakes in Upstate New York.


Hills

I learned once again, facing a hill

you have a choice to make.

Several choices.

Go up or go around is the first choice.

To go around is rarely the right choice.

It is an unsatisfying option.

Go up.

Once you start the climb, you must commit. Shift down and keep moving.

Look up if you can,

If you can’t look up,

focus on the ground in front of you,

keep moving.

A time will come when you must face defeat.

The hill will laugh at you,

but you have the last say.

You can accede defeat and turn around,

or you can continue the climb on foot.

When so doing,

the hill will tell you it has defeated you.

As long as you keep moving,

You will reach the top.

Once there,

you can look down on the hill and say:

“You have not defeated me today!”

The hill will laugh and say:

“I have many sisters.”

“One of them will succeed where I have failed.”

This is just idle chatter.

There is no hill that can’t be conquered.

That is what it means to be human.

The hills were put there to test us.

There is no hill that can break us.

Hills are a part of us.

Hills are the challenge that bring out our best.

Without hills, life would be meaningless.

It is the hills we choose to climb that define us, that make us who we are.

The beauty of cycling,

is that it is an embodiment our existential reality.

It is a physical expression of that reality.

You see it with your eyes,

You feel it with every beat of your heart,

with every breath you take in,

with every ache in your legs.

They are our life.

Brad Adkins