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Thursday, 28 June 2012

William Carlos Williams: Sketch for a Portrait of Henry Ford


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Scrap and salvage depot, Butte, Montana (detail): photo by Russell Lee, October 1942 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)





A tin bucket
full of small used parts
nuts and short bolts
slowly draining onto
the dented bottom --
forming a heavy sludge
of oil -- depositing
in its turn steel grit

Hangs on an arm
that whirls it at increasing

velocity around
a central pivot --
suddenly the handle gives
way and the bucket
is propelled through
space  . . . . .





William Carlos Williams: Sketch for a Portrait of Henry Ford, 1939, from Matrix (November-December 1940), in Poems 1939-1944




Image, Source: b&w film copy neg. of print

 Automobile parts at junkyard, near Abbeville, Louisiana: photo by Russell Lee, November 1938 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

Nuts and bolts, junkyard, near Abbeville, Louisiana: photo by Russell Lee, November 1938 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

Workman at an automobile graveyard on Ridge Avenue, Manayunk, Pennsylvania: photo by Paul Vanderbilt, Spring 1938 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)

 Image, Source: digital file from original neg.

Auto dump near Easton, Pennsylvania: photo by Walker Evans, November 1935 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film
  
Auto junkyard along the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, Hereford (vicinity), Texas: photo by Jack Delano, March 1943 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)

Image, Source: intermediary roll film

Auto junkyard in Salisbury, Maryland: photo by Jack Delano, March 1943 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)

Image, Source: intermediary roll film

Junkyard near Sulphur Springs, Maryland, along U.S. Highway No. 1: photo by Jack Delano, June 1940 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

Junkyard near Abbeville, Louisiana: photo by Russell Lee, November 1938 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

Junkyard owner near Abbeville, Louisiana: photo by Russell Lee, November 1938 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

Farmer watching junkyard owner examining condition of spark coils in model-T Ford, Abbeville, Louisiana: photo by Russell Lee, November 1938 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

Wheels, tires and general junk at junkyard near Abbeville, Louisiana: photo by Russell Lee, November 1938 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

Automobile parts in junkyard, near Abbeville, Louisiana: photo by Russell Lee, November 1938 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

Flywheels and speedometer cables in junkyard, near Abbeville, Louisiana: photo by Russell Lee, November 1938 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

Group of automobile crankshafts in junkyard, near Abbeville, Louisiana: photo by Russell Lee, November 1938  (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

Display of headlights in junkyard, near Abbeville, Louisiana: photo by Russell Lee, November 1938 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

Discarded automobile motors in junkyard, near Abbeville, Louisiana: photo by Russell Lee, November 1938 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

 Tire rims at junkyard, near Abbeville, Louisiana: photo by Russell Lee, November 1938 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

Group of automobile springs, junkyard near Abbeville, Louisiana: photo by Russell Lee, November 1938 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)

Image, Source: intermediary roll film

Junkyard, Duluth, Minnesota: photo by Russell Lee, May 1937  (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)

Image, Source: original print

Men sitting on parts of truck in junkyard, South Side of Chicago, Illinois: photo by Russell Lee, April 1941 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

Men sitting on parts of truck in junkyard, South Side of Chicago, Illinois: photo by Russell Lee, April 1941 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)

Image, Source: digital file from original neg.

Junkyard, Washington, D.C.: photo by John Vachon, August 1938



Automobiles parked on a rainy night on 52nd Street, New York City: photo by William P. Gottlieb, c. July 1948 (William P. Gottlieb Collection, Library of Congress)


Scrap and salvage depot, Butte, Montana: photo by Russell Lee, October 1942 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)

http://www.fulltable.com/VTS/a/accident/ca/02.jpg

Image from Fiction Illustrated, c. 1953 (via fulltable)


Scrap and salvage depot, Butte, Montana (detail): photo by Russell Lee, October 1942 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)

13 comments:

Conrad DiDiodato said...

I'm reminded suddenly of the "valley of ashes" in The Great Gatsby: of death by car.

TC said...

Conrad, that same prescient passage seemed from here to have returned as part of the atmospheric fallout from the towers falling in the unreal city, what now seems ages ago.

As in that grey exurban wasteland in Gatsby
When the white sky darkens over the city
Of ashes, far from the once happy valley,
This daze spreads across the blank faces
Of the inhabitants, suddenly deprived
Of the kingdom’s original promised gift.
Did I say kingdom when I meant place
Of worship? Original when I meant
Damaged in handling? Promised when
I meant stolen? Gift when I meant
Trick? Inhabitants when I meant slaves?
Slaves when I meant clowns
Who have wandered into test sites? Test
Sites when I meant contagious hospitals?
Contagious hospitals when I meant clouds
Of laughing gas? Laughing gas
When I meant tears?

Hazard Response

Hazen said...

Wow! Hilarious poem by Williams. Biting. At least that's my read. (You know me). And those photos of all the front-lit detritus of civilization. And Mike, guardian of all things rusty and bent, stogie in hand, looking quite pleased down in Abbeville, La. The business of America, gentlemen, is junk.

Nice, very nice, Tom.

TC said...

Hazen, I read it exactly the same way.

STEPHEN RATCLIFFE said...

Tom,

Yes, the prescience of the good Doctor, juxtaposition w/Russell Lee's photos from "the same era" (and that John Vachon "Junkyard, Washington, D.C" -- oh my!
Thanks for helping us to keep our eyes wide open, taking to the highways and byways this summer. . .

6.28

light coming into sky above black plane
of ridge, crow calling from pine branch
in foreground, sound of wave in channel

motion which has been known,
for which there is no

similar place, can be drawn
in any direction, not

silver line of sun reflected in channel,
cloudless blue sky to the left of point

Susan Kay Anderson said...

Gasoline

That was raw chalk, an old
shoe to chew on—that was my
eraser, a medicine I had no name for,
that was a part of some dried up glue
I hungered for, watched the other kids
eat it. That was something I had never
known about. It became liquid and yet more solid
in my mouth. A joke. Muktuk. Ulu. Oogruk. Kuspuck.

Nome, and the candy bar I bought at the filling station.
I ate it behind the lockers
where our meat was stored. Where
I stood and imagined being shut inside.
It was warmer in there than outside.
The candy tasted like gasoline.

Hazen said...

William Gottleib captures a time in “the once happy valley” when jazz was great and the men and women making it were great too, and making the scene along 52nd St. None other than Errol Garner, J.C. Heard and Oscar Pettiford are at the 3 Deuces, while down the street, it seems Art Tatum is the at piano, wigging out fans at another jazz club.

By the way, Hazard Response is finer than fine.

Wooden Boy said...

This is also about the making of a character, the dumb weight of that oil, and that arm swinging round and round like some kid on a wasteland throwing the ruins about. For all the soullessness of the constituent parts, there's something laughable, endearing even, about this bit of patchwork mechanical futility.

Given all the dull horror that begins with Ford, this is a sharp stab at the root.

Susan Kay Anderson said...

"Slaves when I meant clowns" goes round and round to wrap around Williams' off-kilter sketch.

Susan Kay Anderson said...

The old tech: short bolts, dented bottom, sludge, steel grit against
the new tech: whirl, velocity, pivot, way, propel, space.

The central is buried--handle flimsy in this poem of disappointment.

TC said...

Slaves when I meant clowns
Who have wandered into test sites?

Duh, you mean us?

The dumb weight, the dull horror, the disappointment, the accumulated evil, the insult to life and the living, the sharp stab at the root which opens up the vein of patchwork mechanical futility, the candy that tastes like gasoline, the gasoline that is the candy of the junk culture whose history is writ in systematic dehumanization and a stain of muck visible from outer space?

Junked

Show Your Stripes!

Industrial Archeology: L.-F Céline: My Time at Ford's ("You're here to make the movements you're told to")

Edward Burtynsky: Automotive Detritus

Edward Burtynsky: Oil, Transportation and Motor Culture

Industrial Archeology: Loss (Edward Burtynsky)

Industrial Archeology: Watch the Fords Go By!

Industrial Archeology: "You could be only 1/16th of an inch from eternity"

Industrial Archeology: Motor City, Mythic Vistas (Charles Sheeler, 1928-1932

Industrial Archeology: Ruins (Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre)

Susan Kay Anderson said...

Clunk a lunk, clunk a lunk
in a bucket
through space--
I was so young and alive
I thought it was my skin
metal
and oil
my blood
and gasoline
my idea
of things
I needed
that became ideas
I wanted
all working together
in the factory
with me, with you
forever
our hygiene

Elmo St. Rose said...

detritis of the gettaway

driving west into the sunset
in a convertible

dudes you're messing me up

Not Fade Away....Holly, the Stones,
the Dead


the long highway