'The Constant Traveller' & Other Poems

'The Constant Traveller' & Other Poems
Published: Jan 24, 2021
A peripatetic observer with cheeky verve, a tendency to gallop on a straightaway, and a keen eye for the precious details of a landscape.


'A Field Mouse', Alexander Thorburn, journal of wild culture ©2021

'A Field Mouse', Archibald Thorburn, 1905. [o]





 Field mouse
 In bed
 Of nails—
 And estates
 That grow
 Like tumors
 Out of the back of my hand
 When there are no more fields
 To run




seabird diving, Richard Winn, journal of wild culture ©2021

'Young Gannett Diving'. Photo by Richard Winn. [o]




                             a life
                             asleep and
                             a wake
         on a bed of memory-less
                       and waves
                to no-one
        where nothing
            is ever the same
        and everything
always looks the same
not a soul
but a sole
     in sight
    no solid
   to lay my feet
‘til we land on land
              to mate
           and meet
           and share
  for a moment and
our lonely fate




Restaurant Closed, by Whitney Smith, journal of wild culture ©2021

"Stacked Chairs, Mexico City.' Photo by Whitney Smith. [o]






       a great falling wave
your armchair at dusk,
landless bird

long shot
one in five-hundred—
red wolf!

                head spinning
                   she spells infinity
eskista dancer

                   Las hormigas no
Pueden comer hormigón.
Restaurantes “Closed”.

the morning dew
soon gone, is felt beneath
our passing heels

writing haiku
   about my green tea—
                                  tea’s gone cold


Shower Water Falling, journal of wild culture ©2021

'Shower Water Falling'. Photo by Anderson Miranda. [o]





Dearest Art,

     You scream in tune.
     You cry in key.
     You hide
          beside yourself
just outside the frame
      between the frames
quicksilverfish that you are
on the cutting-room floor.
                         What’s more?
     You took the best of us—
        dragged, like my hair
from the shower we shared—
     You and that liar in your hands.
     You wet her              with lies.
     You have a good (blind) eye.
     You kissed the arse and made them cry.
                                           Who the hell am I?
Just jealous that’s all.

Yours for now,
                                                                   — Life




Ice pier, Black Sea, Ukraine' journal of wild culture ©2021

'Ice Pier, Black Sea. Ukraine.' Photo by.



I travel overland
I travel overseas
I howl and I roar and
I whistle as I walk
            Down hallways
                  Up highways
          Long and free
Jaywalk ‘cross highways
Brush through trees
           Through valleys,
                             Tunnels, underpasses
                      And alleys
As I tread
      I kick up dust,
              And dung
              And virgin snow
              And I think
                        I know
 My own footprints
       From long ago.

    I blow through town
At eighty miles an hour
Shake and stir stuff up—
Or breeze idly by—
But I never really stop.

I travel day and night
Over rock I roll
          An empty beach in pre-dawn glow
          Tarmac, grass
     Grape and grain
And rubbish dumps
           I leave a trail
          I make a mess
           Smash a window
     Or go on by
      Without a trace.

              I piss where I will
                               As I move
And my tears fall at my feet.

I can be warm and gentle
After long summer’s eves
       Of orchards, vineyards, poppy fields
       Of twenty-six degrees
I can be harsh and cold and bitter
As Black Sea winter chills
      Far-flung glaciares
      Helsinki city streets
But what I pick up
                  I soon drop.
I travel light.

Sometimes I meet others like me
                  We travel together a while
                         Become inseparable
                            Come to blows
                            Go our separate ways.

I’ve been travelling so long
I don’t know when I started
                    Or how I’ll come to rest
                         How I’ve changed
                           What I’ve lost
                      Or what I’ve gained.
       A memory?
                             An idea?
       An experience or two?
Have I left it all behind?
Acquired something new?
Made of entirely different stuff?
Is there anything still in me
          From those days when I set out
On this endless journey?
I know I’m not the same throughout.
       A grain?
                       A single cell?
       A chain or single thought?
I gave up trying long ago
To choose or steer my course.

I’ve seen and touched and tasted
Passed through everything
                      But still and stagnant secrets.
        Those I’ve no part in.

Today an eagle rested on my shoulder
             I helped push a boat out
                            And a man
                            From a cliff.
I’ve helped and I’ve hindered.
If you know I’m on my way
         Better to work with me
          Than to try to go against.
Sometimes in my anger
      I throw things from my path
Or I step around politely
           There’s things even I can’t…

But let me roam
‘Cause you may keep me (out) a while
      But you’ll never stop me
                                                   I’ll prevail.
                                                   I was born to move!

I am wild
                                            I am free
   Or as close as I can hope to be



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Roy Duffield fills out
The Wild Culture Scribbler’s Questionnaire

What is your first memory and what does it tell you about your life at that time and your life at this time?

Climbing up the back of a brown, threadbare sofa to see what was so bright outside. Now that I think about it, the symbolism is just too easy.

Can you name a handful of artists in your field, or other fields, who have influenced you — who come to mind immediately?

Kerouac, Neruda, Kaneko Misuzu, Jean Rhys, Jack London, Laurie Lee, Hunter S. Thompson, Goethe, Bashō…

Where did you grow up, and did that place and your experience of it help form your sense about place and the environment in general?

A big town. Neither the city, with its abundance of culture; nor the wild. Which is probably why I’ve always lusted after both extremes, and why now I can’t live contentedly in any of the three.

If you were going away on a very long journey and you could only take four books — one poetry, one fiction, one non-fiction, one literary criticism  — what would they be?

I am always about to go away on a very long journey, and these are what I most want to read right now: The Vigilantes: A Fragment by Alan Ansen, House of Hunger by Marechera Dambudzo, Book of Dreams by Jack Kerouac, and Kerouac: A Biography by Ann Charters. Does that count?

What was your most keen interest between the ages of 10 and 12?

Playing in “the woods”.

At one point did you discover your ability with poetry?

Actually, I'd always been a fiction guy. I've spent my whole life working on this gritty, 'real' novel. Then, a couple of years ago, I was in Mozambique and suddenly just started writing poetry. I haven't stopped since. I have the feeling my mind is 'deteriorating' into abstraction, but it's not a painful deterioration. I'm happy to stay on the raft and see where it goes.

Do you have an ‘engine’ that drives your artistic practice, and if so, can you comment on it?

I write when I’m angry, when something in the world needs to change. It’s an engine I don’t expect to run out of fuel for anytime soon.

If you were to meet a person who seriously wants to do work in your field — someone who admires and resonates with the type of work you do, and they clearly have real talent — and they asked you for some general advice, what would that be?

Never stop reading, well and often.

Do you have a current question or preoccupation that you could share with us?

How can things ever improve (politically, environmentally . . . everything) when our culture is not currently one based on helping each other to learn and understand?

What does the term ‘wild culture’ mean to you?

Wild culture is the best culture, because it’s the least cultured.

If you would like to ask yourself a final question, what would it be?

No, no. Thank you. I’m done.



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ROY DUFFIELD was honoured to be chosen to headline last year's annual Beat Poetry Festival in Barcelona alongside some of the contemporary Spanish performance poets he most admires. This year his work has appeared in over 25 journals and anthologies, including The Dawntreader, The Trouvaille Review, Marble Poetry, Lucent Dreaming, The Prachya Review, The Medley, Strukturriss and Jalada Africa. Roy has travelled over 100 countries and writes as The Drinking Traveller. He lives in Barcelona.





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