. elsewhere . . letters from the inaccessible .


25 June 2000

ideas awaiting birth

I went to the Santa Monica Pier on saturday night with Joe, Michelle, and Florence. Unfortunately, Stacey was stuck working (end of FY2000 puts her in a tough place!). While on the Ferris Wheel, Joe noted that tourists can often see more of a location than natives. I thought about that. I must have been ten or twelve before I went to see the Hollywood sign up in the hills. I've been in here on the Westside for over a year, and had never gone to the pier, except to one of the little food establishments next to the pier. A couple weeks ago was the first time I'd been to Venice beach to watch the weirdos and hide, like the cave-dweller I am, under my umbrella for four hours away from the sun.

A tourist in LA for 2 weeks would, quite possibly, see more of these things. Of course, as a native, I've experienced the indescribable beauty of the Los Angeles air the day after a rainstorm, when the clouds are rushing by, colliding with one another like drunkards. The kind of clouds that are dark and threatening, but far enough to permit sparse regions of a more beautiful blue than could possibly be manufactured for a cloudless sky. Those minutes, and they are only minutes, are things which tourists, hell-bent on novelty and the next attraction, usually miss.

Put those clouds behind a building, put the late afternoon sun behind you (say an hour before sunset), shining brightly against the side of the building with the threatening yet proverbially silver-lined clouds behind them, and you get a reason that I try to write poetry: trying to fertilize and give birth to the ideas and emotions that make sense to me when I experience them, but cannot explain why.

For example, at the top of the the Ferris Wheel last night, what struck me more than the lights of the city at night (you know that I'm addicted to those), was the intense darkness of the ocean in the middle distance, away from the lights of the pier and shore, out there between me and the oil rigs on the horizon. It was a dark unlike the sky, and looked like a pure stone, unreflective, absorbing each stray photon and each stray thought or feeling which found its way out there. I wanted to go there, and I can't explain why. Of course, there is teeming with life, more than any cubic meter on/above the land. But the perceived lifelessness, the sense that the black water would be a womb, a cold heavy thing which shifts and caresses in its total fluidity was alluring. It was seductive. But this whole paragraph isn't quite what I was thinking. I wanted to go into the water, I knew it wasn't a pure, empty, infinite, still water, but I still felt as though if I could only get there that it would be. Maybe someday I'll write a poem, with none of these images, and you'll think it was about a trip I took or a conversation we've had, but it will be about this, because by then, I'd've thought of a better way to say it.

This was all about how I thought of the Ferris Wheel. There is nothing here about the swing ride which Florence took in impressive stride, the man singing blues, then reggae, then gospel music through an old Carvin speaker and acoustic guitar (who I believe I've seen on 3rd Street), the college kids playing that dancing arcade game, looking like they're dancing not at all, or my idea for a t-shirt which says, in Chinese script, "Big Dumb American" (with translation on back). And nothing about earlier in the day, when I'd spent the afternoon with a couple present and past Revolutionaries. Or the night before when I watched Vertigo again. Damn, that's a great movie. Or all of the things I wanted to say over the weekend, which I didn't, because I was afraid.

musings of a prod.

The cook has turned up the gas a bit at the Revolution. Tim™ Brand Web Producer is progressing, but the housewives and taste-testers are setting some rather high standards. I'm afraid that I won't be able to make their whites whiter, their colors brighter, or their hands silky smooth.


©2001 Timothy A. Clark -|-