Poetry by Jim Nasium

The Impossible Journey: Part I & II

The time to leave this place had come
what we wanted to do is left unfinished
our business was not welcome
the water front town was no longer safe for us
time ran out sooner than we wanted it to
so a new plan unfolds with no consideration
arrangements have to be made right now
a quick escape would be best at this point

A cargo ship ready to leave the canal
offered passage for desperate travelers
the choice had to be made instantly
we could leave with in the hour
sacrificing only comfort for our safety
perhaps we thought, it would be best
to sail South through rough waters
to the sea port town of Barranquilla

The option was to leave at dawn
crossing Southern Panama by foot
cutting through over grown jungles
following foot paths as old as time
stopping to rest at ruins full of wonder
the hot sun our only guide South
walking slowly towards the safety waiting
in another countries open arms

Exactly how long the trail would take
for desperate travelers on foot
who had never been through this jungle
was something that no one could be sure of
the ship South seemed the better choice
so we gladly paid our fare in Colombian Pesos
made our way to our private quarters
and thanked God we were safe at last

Slowly sailing away from danger
the dock and street lights fade
a dark wee hours sky dissolves
giving way to dawns red hues
for an hour everything was perfect
then a storm kicked up out of no where
we felt the winds force growing stronger
the closer the ship got to the storm

As if it wasn't already bad enough
we sailed through the center of the storm
winds blew even stronger than before
no one knew what would become of us
perhaps we should have taken the trail
that cuts through the uncharted jungle
the sea is always rough this time of year
but I for one fear the worst

I said nothing to the crew about how I felt
even though I knew in my heart we were in trouble
sailing men have crossed these waters before us
many smaller ships that were over burdened
with holds packed full of illegal cargo
even though this sea is unforgiving
the time lost is important to us
I wondered if luck was still on our side

Tossed and thrown by the current
the angry sea tortured the ship
with no regard for the life on board
or the cargo packed in the hold
there was nothing left to do but pray
as we slowly we made our way South
twin diesel engines strained under the load
fighting the waves that kept us from land

All hands prayed that by dusk
we would see land and finally dock
to walk on dry land was all we wanted
so the danger behind could be forgotten
adventure waits in a new place
for desperate travelers once forced
to take the impossible journey
to remain free for a little longer

Barranquilla may smell like dead fish
but the back street women are friendly
the market place sells fresh sea food
hotels are clean and rates are cheap
it seems as if we found a home
fruits of the land and maps given to us
show that many wonders are waiting
in a new place for eager adventurers
who walk around higher than the Andes

Part II.

The best hotel in town was our choice
we decided to go first class all the way
we had pulled it off and were safe now
they'd never look for us down here
time to relax and enjoy ourselves
we quickly made our connections
names were dropped and secrets shared
our business seemed wanted here

Time went by quickly in Barranquilla
even for very lucky and weary travelers
the days were long the sun was hot
nights were so very forgiving
women were easy and the drugs pure
hippies from all over the world gathered
the exchange rate was thirty to one
no one knew who were or why we were there

Working our way East from Barranquilla
we decided to stop in Santa Marta
a small town that sits in a valley right on the beach
with a snow capped mountain behind it
Indians have found their way North
up the Magdalana River from the Amazon
to sell things that Hippies wanted
the price was always right

South through the center chain of The Andes
many days were spent in old buses
or hitching rides with cargo trucks
between long walks through fields
untouched since the beginning of time
feeling safer with each miles walked
South to a place we've got to see
paradise on earth or so they say

The impossible journey was almost over
the bus slowed down for a curve in the road
pulling slowly into the center of town
near a fountain and a large church
a bus station, bakery, cafe and hotel
the market place full of people waiting
for some hippies and a priest to pass by
so the bus could come to a stop, and let us off...

©2004 Jim Nasium

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