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Saturday, 8 November 2014

"These faint pastel bands..."


Lake Briones, early morning: image via Elie Byrd @eliejeanb, 2014

These faint pastel bands
across the refinery corridor
fog soft kissing cold blue water
won't turn frog into prince
self inseparable from other
fade to traffic frightwig night

[Sunset over San Francisco Bay seen from Berkeley, with Golden Gate Bridge and Mt Tamalpais seen in distance] The best part of weights is walking home from it #berkeleysunsets: image via Elie Byrd @eliejeanb, 13 February 2014

[Sunset over San Francisco Bay, seen from East Bay hills] And that's a wrap. #san francisco #sunsets: photo via Timbuk2 @timbuk2, 29 April 2014


Sandra said...

this is difficult for me...frightwig night ...!!

TC said...

Well, Sandra, to take it literally, the phrase is
fright′ wig`
a wig with hair standing out in all directions, as if from fear or excitement.

There is also the special vernacular sense of wig, now outdated. But not in my mind, for I remember it. (Of course, I'm totally outdated).

In the old slang sense (jazz world derivation), wig meant head, brain, mentality, cerebral unit, cranial noodleroni wok -- as, in jive talk, "don't blow your wig".

"To wig" or "to wig out" might mean to talk, especially idly or foolishly; to annoy someone, be a nuisance; to play some cool, way out jazz music; to experience ecstasy from listening to such music; thus, by extension, to experience ecstasy from any music; to be well satisfied with someone or something; to be in rapport with something; to dig something -- or, conversely, to experience sudden fear, alarm, dismay -- "to wig out".

Here, the proximity to Halloween brings in the association of "fright mask", a scary looking latex face, worn mostly by children (or adults who haven't yet managed to grow up) on that dismalest of American holidays (well, I shouldn't really single it out, in this respect I find all of them equally noisome, as presently celebrated).

Then, for one night, everything was meant to be scary, even though play-scary is so much less frightening than true-scary; to become truly scared, one might have skipped the putrid Chinese latex, and simply waited a few more days till elections, which, if one remains conscious, ought to have left one totally wigged-out and afraid, "on the natural", like they also used to say.

As to the astonishing sunsets we have here in the winter months, much of the aesthetic splendor derives from the admixture into the atmospheric impasto of the continual toxic particulate emissions from the big refineries up the road in Richmond, an oil company town that's been dealing out cancer in tiny, tiny bits to everybody in its plume arc, for over a hundred years now, as if that were the neighbourly thing to do. Which, in this great land, apparently it is.

TC said...

You might be wondering why people in Richmond put up with having the role of guinea pigs in this ongoing lethal experiment.

Short answer, jobs.

Longer answer, they don't.

Since a major fire two years ago that caused a great deal of harm to the health of local people, there began to grow a grassroots political movement, a Progressive party, which is insisting on some basic safety regulations, and has now placed three representatives on the city council, and their recent successful electoral campaigns were won despite the most intense opposition one can imagine -- the least outrageous feature of which, probably, was the systematic defacing of Progressive campaign posters.

It's the occasional catastrophic fires which sporadically excite righteous outrage in in the victimized. One thinks of the deep parable writ into the history, Union Carbide, Bhopal.

This poem was writ last week. Another, writ almost thirty years ago now, also followed one of those hellish conflagrations (business as usual).

"First cold winter twilights..."

Of course, as our new Republican "leaders" are the most exploitative and rapacious pack of earth destroyers yet rounded up into a single vigilante posse, we'd best learn to expect, live with, perhaps even grow to love (!!) our absolutely stunning scenic sundown pollution spectaculars... as the oceans rise, the cities (and refineries) are drowned.. and the rich are and of course always will be enjoying it all, in their solar powered superyachts, parked in a taxfree dark patch off the radar somewhere near the international date line.

Sandra said...

thanks so much Tom...delicate wonderful poem!

Wooden Boy said...

The Os like slow poison and that "traffic frightwig night" has my hair on end.

All that horrible beauty reminds me of a night watching the refinery fires from the Mumbles.