This year I’ve been clawing through,
Photo memories of you,
Like my big toe through steel toe boots,
Staggered in the mud,

Liquor chasing Percocets,
Tall boys, packs of cigarettes,
Watercolors washing at sunset,
Feeling like a flood,

Sore and swollen is my head,
Thinkin’, drinkin’ from my bed,
As heavy, lethal as the lead,
Stained in orange blood,

By the time I ever get back home,
The vengeant ghosts and skeletons,
Will be places I once knew,
By the time I ever get back home,
Poseidon will have left his throne,
Sinking deeper in the blue,
By the time I ever get back home,

“I’m glad to be so young, talkin’ with my tongue, glad to be so careless in my way, glad to take a chance, and play against the odds, glad to be so crazy in my day…” Steve Forbert sang, as I grinned and wholeheartedly agreed from the driver’s seat. Conflicted but still high from the renewed sense of living I possessed — after the agonizing recovery from my surgery — and two years since Carol had joined us on our jaunts across Shelter Island, I felt blessed to be back again. Not only was I alive, my health was finally…

Autumn has always held a melancholic mystique for me; the vibrant decay bursting through the canopies, the alluring scent of earthy spice, and the chill of the brisk morning air stirs something primal deep within my soul. It makes my feet grow weary, my finger itchy for the camera shutter, and my ears insatiable for wistful melodies. …

“Once upon a midday dreary,” I pored, tall-boy clenched between my fingers as I examined the wave of deja vu washing over me with the steady soaking rain. It was one of those drizzly afternoons where being outside was tolerable but not necessarily comfortable. “Woah… I think I’ve been here before… In this exact parking lot… Like, years ago!”

“Outside my apartment?” Aileen quipped. I chuckled and affirmed, certain that I had pulled off during a trip to New Haven to see her friend — the reason I had met her in the first place — before picking up some…

The tires had been humming all day between the lyrics of The Doors, the driver’s seat conforming to my stiff muscles as we wove between blues and reds, blacks and silvers, and taupe SUVs on the interstate. “When I was a little kid, Morrison scared me; his voice was so deep it sounded evil,” I noted, between slapping my fingers on the steering wheel. “His voice does sound almost sinister,” Whitey agreed, summarizing my childhood memories of “People are Strange” flawlessly. “Roadhouse Blues” was currently my “jam,” as it were, followed by “Peace Frog,” which mentioned the racial strife of…

Well a man can make a living,
Or live it howling at the moon,
Where a soul is made for giving,
A soul is taken much too soon,

They don’t pay us for our brains,
Barely compensate our backs,
Lord, it matters just the same,
When you’re staggering the tracks,

I never had it in me,
The quality of life,
Where the sunset rocks to sleep,
The same it rises on the peak,
No, I never had it in me,
The quality of life,
Where the sunset puts a man to sleep,
And leaves the weary still to weep,


Squinting in the sudden splash of orange that was soaking into the tiers of bricks and rubber-worn streets, my frozen upper lip slurped away at the top layer of lukewarm coffee, pining for the heat which lay beneath. The concrete-laden world of central Queens could almost be featured in a postcard on a morning like this, and without many trees to reference otherwise, the reader could easily assume the picture was taken in the middle of a hot summer.

Across the street, a muddy Chevrolet with blue and red strobes pulled up to a fresh swept sidewalk beside the local…

The mad dash began at 2:00pm, hurriedly fleeing work, en route to Mills River — the most convenient gateway to Pisgah National Forest from South Asheville. Being a Friday in an unseasonably warm October, I knew the pickings would be slim for roadside camping, which is free on a first-come-first-served basis along the the winding dirt and gravel roads spanning 512,758 acres of mountains and timber beyond the pavement of Route 208.

“Do you know if there are any spots open up the road?” I inquired at such a site. “He spent last night looking, and finally found this one…

Not everybody wants to rule the world; I would settle for the mere mastery of time and space. And when Tears for Fears plays on the radio, I can almost achieve such feats, as the memories of Shelter Island in the summer of 2015 come flooding back, and with them a sensory overload that reverses the catalyst of the olfactory’s ability to trigger the mind; I can smell the vegetative stagnation of the July heat and refreshing salt of Gardiner’s Bay in the sparing breeze. …

There’s no antidote between us,
Our venom intertwined,
The summer season’s painted,
Like purple in the sky,

So I’m chasing that horizon,
On February nights,
That caution light screams faster,
And I’ll run it every time,

Can we hide in the eclipse,
Where there’s so much on my mind?
Drawing tattered curtains,
Still dizzy from the wine,

You might be a reflection,
Shattered just as I,
But it’s hard to change direction;
Kiss those seven years goodbye,

Insomnia, the circle,
Burning through the lies,
Inhaling the addiction,
That’s lighting in your eyes,

I’ll never find the comfort,
In promises or rhyme,
But I trust the lack of honesty,
From your two lips on mine.

Jonathan A. Neary

The outdoors is where I work and play. Torn between my love of nature and urban exploration, I use photography and writing to bring out the best of both worlds.

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