Straight lines

 

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Strange theodolite

 

His eyes saw the lines

Where they met

How they bent

The world was a series of angles

The intersections

Of contradictory beliefs

A complicated web

Drawn by invisible hands

 

Undaunted

He traced the line that led

Through endless course corrections,

Acute angles, and parabolic curves

From his heart

To hers

In the end, it was easy

Theirs was the red string in a grey sea.

 

 

Words and image are my own.

 

©2017

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When the leaves come falling down

 

 

Come Fall

 

I can feel its fingers

In the morning air now

The frequency shift from green

To gold

 

Leaves that set themselves on fire

And leap headlong from the trees

The frantic, erratic activities of squirrels

Who (all at once) feel the clock ticking down

 

It’s in the faint silvered mist

that is gone by eight

In the dew that catches the rising sun

Just so

 

And in the evening’s twilight

There’s a new heaviness to the air like

Gravity is increasing to pull the leaves to earth

I love this time best of all

 

Soon will come the scent of wood smoke.

 

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Words and images are my own.

 

©2017

 

93. Streets of your town

 

Time flies. I’ve been living here in New Jersey now for six full months. So much has happened in that time that I’ve barely had time to write about it. I’ve attended two weddings (both of them mine). I’ve had the opportunity to show my son around my new home before reluctantly waving him off at Newark Airport. I’ve seen the Boss play in a small theatre in his spiritual homeland of Asbury Park, and I’ve spent a lot of time in my favourite city, New York.

So, you may be wondering how it’s all going? Did the great romance stay strong after the yearnings of distance dissipated? Does domestic bliss live up to the dream? Are we still even talking after all those years of Skype conversations?

I’m happy to report that the answer to all those questions is a resounding YES. If I’m honest, there wasn’t even a breaking in period. I just slipped right into the chaos that is a house full of hormonal teens and over-excitable dogs as if this had always been my life.

Not that there haven’t been trials and tribulations along the way, it’s just that they have all been external. The relationship is our rock and is what gets us through said trials.

I love the tiny town we live in. It is the sort of place most people aspire to; quiet, friendly, and safe. I’ve never lived anywhere quite like it. The town mayor married us under the trees across the road from our kid’s school. I have daily conversations with the crossing guards (on the morning walk to said kid’s school) in which I’m kept all up to date with  the local happenings.

By chance, I met the town’s (amateur historian), Joe a few months back. Over several conversations, he’s filled me in on some of the more fascinating aspects of the town’s history. This town was incorporated in 1926 after a referendum which was conducted on my Birthday (a fact I consider a good augur). One of the two town churches dates back to the 1750’s and is among the oldest in the county.

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I’m a huge history buff (as I’m sure you’ve already worked out if you’ve been reading this blog) and living among so much of it has been a thrill I haven’t experienced since my time in the UK.

And then there’s this one other thing.

I mentioned this is a tiny town – more a village really. The population is well below 2,000 and yet it now has two Australians among its inhabitants. I first met Michael at our elementary school on one of my earlier visits. I’ve always enjoyed walking the youngest to school and, when she was younger, I’d usually pick her up too.

One afternoon, as I was waiting for her to emerge, a chap approached me and said, in an unmistakeable Sydney accent, “you’re from Australia too, right?” His kids and our kids had been talking and I’d been pointed out.

You may not find this that unusual, after all, there are thousands of Australians living in the US. That at least was my take at first as we chatted about where we were from and what had brought us to this distant part of the world (in both cases the love of a Jersey girl).

Then he asked me exactly where I was born, I told him Darlinghurst in Sydney and he immediately said, “Me too! Which hospital?”

“It doesn’t even exist anymore,” I joked and he exclaimed, “Saint Margaret’s? Me too!”

What are the odds that two men of a similar age, born in exactly the same place, should both end up married to women from New Jersey and both wind up in the same tiny village?

I was reminded of all this as I was walking to the Post Office this morning and Michael came running by me in the blistering heat (mad dogs, Englishmen, and people from Sydney). We have not become friends (despite the obvious impetus we have towards it), contenting ourselves with mild pleasantries whenever our paths cross. I think the strangeness of the situation is something we both find a little too unsettling.

I’m aware I went a little off topic there but the anecdote was too strange for me not to include it and I’ve been mulling it over since I got back from the Post Office.

 

 

 

Words and image are my own.

 

©2017

 

 

Lean over on the bookcase

 

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Lost friends

 

Poetry and dystopian novels make up nearly all of my library now

Not so much a library

As a solitary shelf

Where once my collected volumes filled an entire wall

Of a small flat

Now my medium-sized house fairly rattles

With the absence of voices

The ranks of my old friends have been whittled away

Only Orwell now and Huxley

And one solitary Waugh to rest beside Williams, Whitman, and Frost

I wonder how all those lost now fare?

Whose fingers flick through their well-worn pages?

Or do they lie beneath time’s film untouched and unloved in mildewed boxes?

I try not to think of all those years we spent in each other’s company

They travelled often with me from home to home

But could not make my greatest odyssey

An issue of weight

 

Today I bought a copy of Ulysses by Joyce

Soon, I’ll need a second shelf.

 

 

 

Words and image are my own.

 

©2017

 

 

Underneath the sycamore

 

Now every time this girl I see
She tries to chain me to her tree

Marc Bolan, Visions Of Domino

 

Marc Bolan, the fey glamster who helmed T. Rex, is said to have predicted, through several of his song lyrics, the year and manner of his own death. I know that the Rock world is somewhat rife with such tales, usually the inventions of hardcore fans and their overactive imaginations. However, there are actually some fairly interesting coincidences in this case and so I thought I’d while away a bit of my afternoon (and perhaps yours) having a wee look into it.

First of all, Bolan was on record as believing he’d never make it to 30. He was quite correct in this belief as he died some weeks shy of his 30th Birthday. He never got his driver’s license, having had strong premonitions he would die early, and claimed he “felt a car might be involved”.

On his final tour of France, Bolan visited the Louvre where he encountered a painting by Rene Magritte called September 16.  It is said that he spent several hours just staring at that one piece.

 

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Image, the Louvre.

Interestingly enough, the painting shows the moon in the exact same phase as on the night Bolan died when the car, driven not by him but by his girlfriend Gloria Jones, hit a fence under a tree, on 16 September, 1977.

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The license plate of the mini they were in was FOX 661L and fans have pointed out that in the lyrics to the song, Solid Gold Easy Action he sings:

“life is the same as it always will be,

Easy as picking foxes from a tree.”

 

 

In another song, The Road I’m on he sings:

Since we last loved Gloria
the suns been up and down that many times
since we last loved Gloria
I’ve been sharing love with women of all kinds

Summer ends and leaves start dying
you won’t see robin crying
he knows where the sun is hiding
to another nest he’s flying

You gave me reason now I’ve gotta roam
‘cos the road I’m on gal won’t run me home

Hear my words Gloria
echoing from mountains with a cry
Hear my words Gloria
you’ll see them gal reflecting off the sky

Hear it in the cold wind blowing
hear it in the river’s flowing
no-one in the mind that’s growing
see ‘cos the cards that’s showing

You gave me reason now I’ve gotta roam
‘cos the road I’m on gal won’t run me home

 

That line, the road I’m on gal won’t take me home along with the repeated mention of the name Gloria and the late summer setting have stirred much discussion among Bolan’s fans. His girlfriend Gloria was indeed trying to drive him home when grisly fate intervened.

Bolan had also written a poem about death called The Warlock of Love with the first line, sycamore of sorrow.

The tree beneath which he died was a sycamore.

Sycamore of sorrow

Pray I’m swallowed

In the swell of your yelling leafy breast

My crippled bended chest is shamed

Through flaming crowsfeet, soaring nouns of Norse confession.

Dark earth gremlins, rootlegged hobbling

In the cryptess of my turned wound

Ill-famed fair prince, steal my lightening

Stake me with steel, for my haughtiness

Straddle my storm head with your abyss shroud

Call me harlot, call me wormy wordler

Ever so, but out loud.

 

It’s worth reiterating that (according to one biographer*) Bolan did not die from hitting the actual tree as is popularly believed but rather when the car hit a steel-reinforced fence post in front of it. Bolan was impaled through the back of his head by a piece of iron which gives a couple of other lines in the poem a certain macabre relevance.

Stake me with steel, for my haughtiness

Straddle my storm head with your abyss shroud

 

Finally (and this one is not as compelling to me but I’ll include it for the sake of being thorough) in the song, Celebrate Summer Bolan sings Summer is Heaven in ’77 which was, obviously the year and season of his death (as I said, not particularly compelling, that one).

 

 

* In Ride a White Swan: The Lives and Death of Marc Bolan written by Lesley-Ann Jones.

 

©2017