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

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Flight Attendant to Cabin


Standing by for the takeoff clearance on Lisbon's runway 21. Unusually dense fog for Lisbon is present making this an LVTO (Low Visibility Take Off) since the reported touchdown zone RVR (runway visual range) is 200m. A319 CS-TTP bound to Oslo: photo by Mathieu Neuforge, 1 December 2011

Watching the breaks

these cartoon years
they broke away

and left me here, unable to say

It's all good or things happen for a reason
It's not all good, and things

happen for no reason

and there is no useful parable
in any of this, O Captain!

I think I can make out the runway lights.

Runway at Bucharest Henri Coanda International Airport
: photo by Ksn15, 21 September 2007


Swissair Flight 111 (crashed after an in-flight fire, 2 September, 1998)
: image by Anynobody, 2008

Moonlit overcast seen from en route from Sal (Cape Verde) to Lisbon in A320 CS-TNS: photo by Mathieu Neuforge, 4 January 2012

File:Shawangunk Grasslands NWR runways 2.jpg

Runways of former Galeville Air Base, now Shawangunk Grasslands National Wildlife refuge. Yellow cross indicates to aircraft that airport is officially closed: photo by Daniel Case, 19 July 2007


Night, Ust-Kut Airport, Irkutsk oblast, Russia: photo by Lucky Fighter, 27 November 2008

Minsk, capitol of Belarus, seen on a clear night en route from Lisbon to Moscow in A320 CS-TNS: photo by Mathieu Neuforge, 21 February 2012

Athens by night seen just after takeoff from runway 03L in A320 CS-TNT: photo by Mathieu Neuforge, 30 November 2011


ACravan said...

A few years ago I worked with a group of much younger people who had founded an internet company and were developing what seemed like an impressive, useful product offering substantial protection to copyright owners. One of the things that irritated me most about them was their constant use of the phrase "It's all good." "Flight Attendant to Cabin" is great, however, although tragic. Worse than "It's all good" was when one of the company founders, after making a stupid, avoidable mistake, said to me "It doesn't matter what I do; my success is inevitable." I didn't fit in too well with these guys. Curtis

Wooden Boy said...

Thank goodness for the lights. Let's hope it is the runway.

There's something about flying that puts us outside time and outside any steady reception of the good and reasonable the world would have us tune into.

Cartoon years (a perfect coupling of words): part of us wants them gone or at least some kind of distance There's that sense of playfulness too. So the breaks come (like melting ice sheets) and we find ourselves where the parables don't work.

I love how the poem moves from the opening still reflection to a kind of conversational panic till we're grasping at some sign in the dark.

u.v.ray. said...

In my approach to life I'm more of a "I HOPE I can make out the runway lights" kinda guy.

Of course, when it comes to life; each and every one of us is making our final approach.

For some of us it's at night, in dense fog, with a thick layer of ice on the ground.

Oh, God. I think I saw a parable in the poem.

TC said...

"It's all good" kills me. Softly, with its love.

A former major league baseball player from Alabama for/with whom I once ghosted a book told the story of the many ups and downs in his life as a kind of unfolding tale of deeper meaning at work as an invisible hand guiding the universe. At each turning of the way, he would explain the reversals and volte-faces and resurrections from the ashes with that phrase, Things happen for a reason. So I made that the title of his life story.

But I believe I must have been born on that dark side of the Earth whereupon things happen for no reason.

Some do, some do not.

Yes, banking on those runway lights. What else have we to guide us?

The years are cartoonish ice floes melting beneath our cartoon flippers.

I have not been on a plane since 1995 and that will now always have been the last time.

Conversational panic, all the time. It doesn't matter what we do, it's inevitable.

It's all good.

Thanks for flying with us!!

TC said...

Well Ray, you know how it is. Just when you think you've escaped the parables, you're breathing a bit easier on the tarmac, the pilot's chubby little fist is on the throttle, and -- look out, here they come!!

TC said...

Well, do admit. The way those parables can deconstruct an entire airport IS fairly impressive.

(Of course, that's merely Belfast. As in Maine. Now, say, LAX -- that might be a more extensive project. Calling perhaps for... what would the dread creature be? An allegory?)



Great photos -- thanks for showing us those lights. It's another LVTO this morning here too, O Captain, My Captain!


light coming into fog against invisible
ridge, bird calling from branch in left
foreground, no sound of wave in channel

presence of what is to come
after it, so in being

the same, that is are called
themselves, saying it

grey white of fog reflected in channel,
shadowed green pine on tip of sandspit

TC said...

Steve, welcome home to the thick grey mornings of Pacific Nation.

We've missed you. We are delighted to hear of your new grand-child.


Now here's a thing.

And by "us" is meant, yes my fellow passengers, us.

More than kind and somewhat accurate as well one might add.

Yes, those must be the runway lights. Or the beacon perhaps. For those shy of maps.

TC said...

Steve has just sent along co-ordinates for this morning's LVTO.

So now everyone out there (is anyone out there??) will not be able to see the same things we here in the deepfreeze are not able to see.

TC said...

But wait, correlation does not imply causation.

Not seeing the same thing and not seeing it at the same time, for no particular reason, is this always to be the way then?

Susan Kay Anderson said...

It is always different
up there escaping
the Langoliers
their French-fancy name
left behind, on Earth, what is left
of the runway, the lights--
a little girl speaks plainly
through her bloody mouth
and they say to shut
the windows, not look
out there at them
They don't like clouds
but prefer concrete.
By then, the flight attendant
had taken a seat, too,
the lights of Minsk nearing
nobody hearing
the pilot's command
to get, get away
from there.

TC said...

Susan, of course the special-effects people stuffed her mouth with blood to keep her from talking.

But talking was never going to be of any use, in any case.

Just consider the gibberish uttered by the Dean Stockwell and Bronson Pinchot characters.

It's been contended the L's actually hatched from the dark imagination of the Bronson Pinchot character. That's the Freudian interpretation. Monsters from the Id and all that.

In truth (and this is a little known fact) the Langoliers were born out of a storm of St Elmo's Fire crackling out from the microwave towers in Minsk. No wonder they grew up funny. The funny thing is, Minsk remained contained within the tumour grid capsule, whereas Athens went metastatic just after takeoff. They say there's an immune factor, an X in the code. But the only hints we've had so far as to just how all this might play out in real time have come from the direction of Saturn.

Susan Kay Anderson said...

The lights of Revolution
are on the runway below
we are landing
and it is Athens
her streets
in a roundabout
way. Minsk
appears to be
a sister city
this far up
this far away
on Tom Clark's
planet of good
reasons (not
ideas) but
in things like
olive trees, Magpies
twisted metal, signs,
and the significant
otherness landing
not always using
lights but ears
missing from
the Langoliers.

TC said...

It's not that the Langoliers have anything against talking, mind you.

It's just the not wanting you to say anything but the standard get-along things that make the world go round.

Like It's all good.

Another one they really like is, No worries.

They especially like that one if there's a bit of Standard Airline Reassurance thrown in.

Like, No worries people, just a spot of Turbulence.

Or no worries, just a swarm of Speeding Meatballs with Huge Gnashing Teeth Freshly Escaped from the Id, people.

Or No worries, the landing gear won't come down.

(That was one a United pilot tried on us one time, just minutes out of San Francisco headed for Seattle. Announcing he was turning the plane around and... going back... with the landing gear not down. And the gripping of the handrests was audible, the beads of sweat flowing like Christ's Tears Over Jerusalem. We all wondered whether, since we were now a Grave Crash Accident Risk, San Francisco would even take us -- or whether we'd be told by the Tower, in the musical language of the era, just to Walk On By.)

So all together now... through the blood...

No worries, God is my Co-Pilot.

TC said...

It's true, those teeth-gnashing meatballs appear not to have ears.

No wonder they are such bad listeners.

They don't care if there's blood bubbling out of your mouth like Old Faithful on the day the park rangers got drunk and poured a barrel of ketchup into the geyser, just to see what would happen.

And now we know.


TC said...

Sorry about that, they meant me to say Dog.

But it's all good. Things happen for a reason.

No worries, and the ketchup's still on the Piper Cub hangar party condiments table at 3:04, if you look real quick.

Which means the rangers didn't use it all up on the special effects after all. So like, no worries.

(That's my grandson on drums at the hangar party by the way -- awesome chops, no?)

vazambam (Vassilis Zambaras) said...

It seems The Langoliers have returned with a vengeance re the video God is My Co-Pilot: “The [Supreme] uploader has not made this video available in your country. Sorry about that.” Any time now, I expect Athena to retaliate by sending the dreaded IMF troika into action: God save them! (The Langoliers, that is).

TC said...

Well, as you can see, they had been hot on the trail during the takeoff from Athens, so it's not altogether a surprise to hear that they've caught up and gobbled that video with their huge unselective gnashing teeth. (You'd almost be tempted to think that on their planet they'd been trained as bankers, politicians, insurance adjusters and oil and pharmaceutical company lobbyists before being put into service at their proper task of devouring the world as constituted.) At their astronomical rate of metabolism, they need a good feeding every few minutes. In fact, even as I say that, there's a strange whirring noise, and ... [transmission aborted]