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Thursday, 3 April 2014

The View from Here


San Francisco Skyline: photo by Jim Rohan, 24 March 2014

A strong jolt, the sound of heavy metal
and heavy metal interacting.  Honk!
One of those long trains of white cloud
streaming onshore over El Cerrito
paused. The first driver pulled himself out.
Fat guy in khaki t-shirt. He said quietly, Fuck.
Standing at the window I turned away.

Bay Bridge #3

Bay Bridge #3 (San Francisco): photo by Jim Rohan, 11 March 2014


Hazen said...

This captures the moment perfectly, Tom: one of those metal-to-metal intersections of chance, when the world pauses just a wee bit, realizes its predicament, deletes no expletives, then gets on with it. I had to laugh. If the view were anything like that in either of Jim Rohan’s great photos, it would be hard to turn away.

TC said...

Thanks, Hazen.

If a crew of stretcher bearers with a portable fork lift were to transport me to the roof, I might perhaps, on a clear day, be able to make out a blurry image of about as much of the SF skyline as appears over the wonderfully obtrusive foreground impedimenta in the great Jim Rohan top shot.

In fact, though we've survived thirty years in this precarious outpost above the freeway feeder, and though the noise and exhaust and danger consequent to that proximity grow greater by the year, those changes are incremental, only noticeable when something momentous occurs -- as happened, for example, exactly two years ago, when I was mown down by a car at the nearest corner (my memorial a set of vehicle-preventive plastic stanchions, erected by the city after the fact and, from my POV, just that vital bit too late) -- in the past year, after a neighbour dictated the mutilation of the noble old foliage which has all these years provided our last illusion of defense from the street (out of sight out of mind), there is no longer even that thin yet nonetheless precious green barrier... and so it has come to pass that, now, unable to walk, I stand at the window, not so much watching as drifting, through the same-same days... until something like this happens.

It's the second car crash I've witnessed "in real time" from this station, during this past month of incapacity. The first one was worse. But in both cases, though the shock and impact were dreadful, all drivers and passengers walked away, thanks to the deceiving miracle of seat belts.

The deceit lies in the arrangement that ensures the salvation of the drivers, and victims be damned. When the shock and impact involves pedestrians, no such luck. California rules.

Jonathan Chant said...

Love the poem, and the photos.

The view from my window
oddly green
due to smog and Sahara sand.
All feels
strangely apocalyptic.

Nin Andrews said...

Amazing how in moments of crisis, Fuck! always seems appropriate.
Nice mix of poems and photos, as always.

TC said...

Thanks Jonathan and Nin.

If it's not the desert, these days, it's the deluge, the quake and the tsunami next time.

Jonathan, here we get that bad air infusion pretty much nonstop, not from the Sahara but from Asia (China smog, Fukushima rads & c,), direct via Jet Stream Express (a service of Google, I believe).

Asia has yet to apologize, and I can't imagine the Sahara ever having to apologize to anyone for anything.

All one can really say is -- Well, Nin said it...

Barry Taylor said...

Tom -

Thinking about that lost greenery and those plastic stanchions, and wishing you well.


TC said...

Thanks, Barry. The lost greenery would have loved it here today -- yet another pre-dawn downpour. The drought warnings and the flood warnings, if it's not one it's the other. Meteorologists earn a living by assuring us we can count on one thing: extremes. But that we already knew.

And ah, the plastic stanchions, gleaming in the rain like lathered-up cricket bats, as the commuters whiz past.

Mose23 said...

I like that near echo from Honk! to Fuck.

TC said...

Thanks for noticing that, Dunc.

That was my unnoticeable rhyme of the week.

(That and cloud/out, not quite as well concealed.)