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Through Travelers’ Eyes

-by Bill Watkins 5/31/2017


By “American” let us refer to first Americans first: The Native peoples who first populated this land.

Pause to consider your role, your peoples’ role in respecting this land, or cursing it with some version of a European gold rush.


Today I traveled south from Tongva Nation’s “Los Angeles” by train to a beach of my youth:

St. Malo community in South Oceanside, California.

St. Malo

There is a place in dreams, not far from the heart
of sand and song, the surf it moves us from
Pasadena to Oceanside in weekend shifts.

The soul searches and finds adventure of the
water kind, up and down motion, a fishline
bobbing for fish, rock-collecting on the shore.

It’s all free once there, hard work for some built houses,
others invited guests, the style French inspired
from a walled Brittany gem, quaint and far away

Despite the easy hour and fifteen it can take
to reach Cassidy and a break from hustling bustle.
We’ve arrived.  This is St. Malo!

Unload the car, get food ready, I’ll take this bed,
I can hear the waves, see them almost, let’s
sleep and dream of tomorrow’s activities…

Some sleep in the sun, some not until cooled by
saltwater, others volleyball, the tennis a perennial
favorite even paddle-tennis.  Kids learn to not do

is as fun as doing, the key to paradise always being
freedom.  Add to that a peace of mind, go further
or stop right there at an easy smile.

Hard to come by for many, but once there so easy.
Some listen to music, dance at the cabana, will
a romance start?  Only if prayer can yield honesty—

Some are not ready, but all just where we’re supposed
to be.  The sun comes up on the rich and poor, leveling
us all as human, gratitude the most sane of emotions
weaving like water on water proof cloth until the cracks
in us are found; made whole, we fill that hole we made
making a fort by the water.  Castles made of sand

“melt into the sea, eventually” said the poet, Jimi,
which is fine making room for more to be made, future
trips down the five, stumbling and bumbling down
the PCH Hill Street, a rainbow donut in the morning
steaks and s’mores reading favorite poets singing
songs at night, together we find life warm and worth
the mundane.

Frost and I settle gathering no moss rolling down
a zillionth poetic excursion away from life to find
its keys and truth:  Hope if in the Pacific be, may
it continue to rest with us on asphalt carrying beach
chairs, towels and umbrellas to the sandy break,

The quaint French scene in Socal blue, red and green,
the gold of sand at sun-up and down reminding us
it’s okay just to be….

St. Malo Image

Divorce is the great nightmare, the great deception next to “alcohol” consumption cooked up by the devil as yet another gold rush.

Deny it.  Refute it, best yet:  Rebuke it all in favor of One love, One God, and true Law.


The disease of more grabs us late
at night, convincing us there’s
something better out there than what we have.

Women and men chase their tails
and other men and women around
in circles risking jail cells, nut houses
and all that rhymes with misery and
broken dreams.

Sexual security is on the line, “the right
to choose” so powerful and inviting
so why can’t I go back on a promise?

Abuse is another thing.  Child safety
and your own as we leave in quiet
darkness before he comes back home.

“I’ve had it with her binges,” he says.
Conveniently, he’s met somebody else.

The grass is never greener on the other
side, just vulnerable to the elements
as much as any other grass.

Children bearing the brunt, finding
ways to understand including drugs and
alcohol, the suicidal thoughts streaming
in with other questions about my existence.

“Maybe it’s not meant to be.  I was not
meant to be.”  They left me….

Ha!!!  I cringe when they ask on buses or
trains, “Where are your parents?”  Maybe I’ll
make up a story that they live happily
in my heart.  I’ll make it true by decorating
the grave of my alcoholic imagination until
revived, I walk out of the plot to
haunt poetry readings with humor and
good cheer, because…

Because I am proof that Mom and Dad were
here, and in me they were never divorced,
cannot be.

“Man cannot separate what God has bound
together.”  My parents are not divorced, and so
when asked for now on about the status
of my earthly creators, I shall say with that
Frostian sigh:  “Married these fifty years.  Struggling
to see it in a long imagist vacation into ‘Mo Betta’, the
disease of more and other people, places and things.
Festus and Bacchus, the Devil’s black hole.”

For ages hence I’ll say: here I am


“Man cannot separate what God has bound,”

So man or woman up, hear the sound, this your lucky day to turn that upside down frown twice up and down, and be the heart that thrills the child and the clown.

You cannot please two masters, worship two gods, and once you marry:

You have become one with another under God, which cannot be changed.  So choose wisely, pray to God, and stick.

Alcohol is a lie.  Find out what it is before you are deceived into another sad sip of toxic, flammable, volatile poison.


Feel pain.  Feel joy.  Feel discomfort—give all your feelings to a Higher Power, and live a great day!  Make a schedule for it, God at the top, Sleep at the bottom, and fill in the gaps with love and enterprise.

Rebuke alcohol.  Sin.  Wrong.

Welcome love and light, marry the Wife or husband of your youth, be true to the first crush, be true to love always, and as I told a couple travelers today:

“Let’s stop blowing it.”


Sydney and Lauren were their names, and they were the prettiest girls I have ever seen on a bus.  I lost my footing a moment when I saw them, they were so out of place.

Angels is going too far; of course I first placed them as “dancers.”  A pro dance team on holiday, taking in the sights.

Then I noticed their extensive backpacks, telling me they were probably a couple German or Czech travelers.

I had to find out, so posed some questions rapidly, choosing English first.

Turned out they were masters of the language, being American, and being recent college graduates heading out from home to a bus, to a train, to LAX airport to catch a flight to London and a five-week European adventure!

I was in shock how pretty they were.

I still am.

When you grew up like me, drunk, stupid, hoping a sports achievement would attract a woman someday, or some drunk advance… Then you wake up, get sober—discover the glory of God and beautiful women trumping any escapes or forays into useless matters like “college” or Beer.

You stop there, though, with these two because they could be your daughters.

They were born the year I graduated from college, in 1994, and so I write this message—to them and to all young people, in the hope of saying something that might better you.

Do better than me!!

Don’t drink flammable liquids, pray to God, and tell the truth.

Admit to God, yourselves and the mate of your youth the love you feel.  Be innocent.  Express fully what you feel.

Sigmund Freud said the alcoholic has an inability to express love.

Don’t be that guy or gal.  Stop blowing it and tell your first love how you feel.

Apologize to the guy you flaked on, the girl who waited for you, but you got drunk.

Be who you are.  Simplify life, and set out not at the beckon call of the loudest caller—often the devil calling you to bummers and destruction.

Wait.  Travel.  Hike.  Seek ye and ye shall find.  Ask and receive; God, Higher Power, and Heaven itself await the truly good life lived one day at a time, God on top, sleep on the bottom—

Between the lines we live our amazing dreams…