Please note that the poems and essays on this site are copyright and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.

Sunday, 16 August 2015



SF Ocean Beach sunset with smoke: image via NWSBayArea @NWSBayArea, 15 August 2015

Haze of smoke from the fires to the north streaming down upon a hot wind trapping the routine accumulation of vehicle exhaust ozone particulates in a toxic midden
and that's why everybody's calling the authorities anxiously and why the fire trucks are roaring through the gray pall of dawn but as yet with nowhere specific to go, the blaze 
of last night's sunset was a rusty blur above the ocean beyond the headland and the bridge fading finally into a long flattened russet cloud
that hung there over the unseen water through the sultry stinking evening until at about a quarter to four the traffic ebbed so that the only sound in the house became the growing
bell-like howl of the white cat with dementia
eight piercing wails pause eight more piercing wails echoing down the dark hallway

then rustling silence in the old clock-repairman's shop
as if time had stopped 

A watch and clock vendor sits in his shop in Seoul, South Korea.

A watch and clock vendor sits in his shop in Seoul, South Korea: photo by Ed Jones/AFP, 29 July 2015


Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore said...

Sublime! You're the soul-eye of our time. I truly love "the rustling silence"... who would have put a sound adjective to emphasize the absoluteness of the silence? Hoo?

TC said...


Thanks very much, my friend -- the silence had been getting to me a bit, I think, it must be the heat, or perhaps the noise, the bad air, the exhaust fumes... the Americans?

You see, I was beginning to fear intelligent life had departed the Earth, along with all those other swell things, the seasons, etc., which we'd all been taking for granted for so long.

I think it was Dump Trump or one of his more or less interchangeable fellow Big Dummies who has most recently assured us: Climate Change isn't really happening, it's just one of those annoying modern urban myths, like Black Lives Matter, or Mexicans Are Human, you know, the kind of subversive stuff women tend to dream up at that cranky time of the month.

Abday-Hayy, yesterday all existing temperature records for the town where you grew up fell like trees before an illegal logger.

Up the road here in Richmond, recorded temps were a good ten degrees above anything previously experienced in white world history.

Something like sixteen big wildfires are now raging north of here, the giant, still-unsubdued Rocky Fire near Clear Lake now contiguous with the New Jerusalem... that is, the new, growing, all too aptly named Jerusalem Fire.

Everything is dry as the jawbone of a dead jackass (oops, there I go thinking about the politicians again), and what's not yet reduced to ash cowers in anticipation.

No, I lied, it's just more of the new normal, here in the home of the Great Twenty-First Century Tech Revolution.

Smoky fuming smog blanket notwithstanding, under the withering sycamores and oaks the bridge-bound morning rush hour traffic is already gearing up to its customary business-as-usual start-of-the-work-week three-quarters-bedlam-level out front, the rich people's wasteful automated sprinkler systems are already flowing as once in the great days of Babylon, it's going to be Another Beautiful Day in Paradise.

Breath held, and waiting for The Kid... our old pal El Niño, the new, improved, much-vaunted steroidal Monster Monsoon Version 2.0, which, we're being told, is lurking just around that next smoky, charred corner.

Wooden Boy said...

the growing bell like howl

eight piercing wails pause eight more piercing wails

That's a dread clock sounding.

Over here, there's few who would even think of denying climate change. Doesn't seem to call any kind of halt to the unthinking consumption.

El Nino the sequel will be something fearful to behold.

TC said...

And it is beheld here with a dread based on past experience multiplied by present extreme vulnerability, but of course there is nothing personal in any of this. The automobile with its deadly emissions is after all merely a machine. The problem lies in the using of it.

Smoky and smoggy again this bleary morn, and at 6:49 AM there was what first seemed the rap of a short, sharp stick, but turned out to have been a 4.1 quake on the dread Hayward fault, three miles south of us, and another three miles deep in the ground -- the sixth such worrisome event, on the uneasy fault here, since July.

I hobbled up to the concrete turret-like firehouse just up mayhem avenue a bit, where a crew of firefighters was just arriving, asked and was told they'd been dispatched on short notice from Martinez, something to do with the mini-earthquake.

"They're are caused by the drought," shrugged the firefighter (obviously the scientific type)

Bedlam like that all day, our poor demented feline friend of some 20 years here in the haunted house, the lovely white male cat whose sibling had died of cancer over the winter, is not long for this world, yowls terribly and piercingly much of the night in fits and spells of insecurity and disorientation (heaven knows what that ultimate phase must be like to go through, though in fact the dark knowledge does seem not too far off at that, that is, the sense of the helplessness, the nescience)... and altogether, it does feel much as though all the clocks had broken down at once -- and if not, ought to have...