Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Columbus in Reverse

Heat wave was still happening in Jack London Square

"Why do your warships
ride on my waters?"
        -Woody Guthrie
           "I'd Like To Know"

 The Flaneur takes a holiday for indigenous people,  and for the inevitable Cristoforo Colombo, during Fleet Week, the redutio ad absurdum end result of their encounter.

Anchors Away

When we reached this point, I saw that the heat wave was ended
A beefy layer of fog had already taken Golden Gate bridge

Yesterday I could see the Blue Angels working out from Oakland
today only their vapor trails remain and a few agreeable sea planes

The Coast Guard, a more agreeable branch of the military,
At work on a new buoy while the north coast goes into seclusion

A few festooned war ships still lurked

The whole place had their military freak on for Fleet Week

Including a martinet with a white mustache and badge
Followed me into the visitor center men's room to "comb his hair" 
something out of Burroughs' Junky I reread last night

When in Rome,
Render Unto Caesar

Another patriotic exhibit honoring this time
The U.S. Customs Service,
Don't get too eager for that liberty just yet

Customs agents' hats and accoutrement from many lands

They all have ways of persuasion,
to encourage you to open up and declare

The badge, the binoculars, the sap, and the lead restraints,
Tools of an ancient trade

Snuggle Don't Smuggle,
Gives you a warm and secure feeling to know
Our nation is safe from smugglers and cheats

The exhibition largely and somewhat regrettably takes place
In the circular chamber of theoretical color

The benefit of which is still within reach

We are now for example on the yellow-orange side of the year

A neutral moment in the succession of things

New Bedford

   The Flaneur has alluded in past posts 
to the fact that he hails from Fall River,
A slightly sinister twin city to the slightly sinister city
of New Bedford, Massachusetts

A recent chapter of "The Secret of the Sea"
 revisited a correspondence occurring in my unconscious mind,
Between the two bay areas where I have dwelt,
Distant and remote from each other as they are

Along with nearby Nantucket Island
New Bedford is known historically
As a whaling center

This exhibition was upstairs at the Maritime Museum, 
On loan from the New Bedford Whaling Museum,
I arrived at it by synchronicity or at least serendipty

It seemed to be the result of local Portuguese boosterism
Azoreans joined the Yankee whalers and then settled in New England
As they did in Sausalito with its anchorage at Whaler's Cove

Brings it all back home to me in October,
that vague yet persistent yearning for youth
masked as a yearning to re-experience an old familiar place

The Backdoor of the Sideshow

Sailing time approaches and the wind has blown
the feathered Flaneur indoors again

The fortune-teller always knows more than she tells,
You must keep crossing her hand with silver,
She is a magnet for money

Uncle is psyched-out as usual
He's just a little fatigue right now

Like a cop car behind a billboard
A colossal battleship maintains the element of surprise,
Should any foreign warship be so foolish
as to threaten our homeland

Back at Jack London Square 
the holiday sign man gets a phone call
all is well that endeth well

13 October 2014

The Secret of the Sea
Inter-chapter 5

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