Thursday, July 31, 2014

Morning Guide

After a year of extremes, which saw us endure 
a hot summer in 2013 that became an interminable 
winter, 2014 had an extremely short spring. 
That turned into a summer that is flying past; July will 
be one of the coolest on record and, as we ease 
into August, the area has seen near daily thunderstorms
as the West Coast endures drought conditions
for the third year in a row. There's something wrong
here; while weather cycles are to be expected,
at least a portion of the problem is due to man's
selfishness, his narrow expectations that the basic needs
will be satisfied at the turn of a faucet.

And in Detroit ... by the end of the summer, 
the municipal utility is expected to shut off water
supplies to roughly 150,000 residents,
over 20% of the city's diminishing 700,000 population.
Telling people to "just pay their water bill,"
the utility is threatening 38% of a population that is 
living below the poverty line, underemployed, unemployed,
and trapped in what is becoming "an urban desert."

Increasingly, as those who pay for and control
the Congress sip their triple-filtered bottled water,
scenarios such as these will become common.
With cutbacks and laws weighted towards the
wealthy and their interests, they will one day
wonder why the masses are at the gates.
In spite of the fact that they enjoy privileges
bestowed upon them by their massive pocketbooks,
one day, the people who toil in the shadows
of the corporate boardrooms won't be there
to kiss their masters' asses. Instead, they will be 
in the streets looking for water.

Of course, one can't think along these lines without
considering the old saw attributed to
Marie Antoinette, "Let them eat cake."
There's another to be considered --

When the Nazis came for the communists, I remained silent; 
I was not a communist.
When they locked up the socialists, I remained silent; 
I was not a socialist.
When they came for the trade unionists, I did not speak out; 
I was not a trade unionist.
When they came for the Jews, I remained silent;
 I wasn’t a Jew.
When they came for me, 
there was no one left to speak out.

~Pastor Martin Niemöller

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Just About All the Colors

While the morning sun came up rather pale and listless, 
the same could not be said for these flowers.
They showed a blazing myriad of color, 
the bright flame colors like torches planted in the box, 
while the purple and green below 
complemented the fire.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Ebb and Flow

The little girl was visiting Eskenazi Health on Saturday
 with her family. They sat on one of the benches, 
resting in the shade, while she and her brother played 
in/on the gurgling water feature on the north end 
of the hospital's plaza. 
In recent days, the designer of this pool has
apparently been working with the hospital's grounds
staff to get the fountain outlets to perform
as she had designed. Now, rather than just a gurgling
low-profile pool, the water level ebbs and flows
as the outlets perform sequentially,
the better to illustrate the quote incised

Monday, July 28, 2014

Water Feature

After the storm went through Saturday morning,
the day shown bright, clear, and very warm.
I stopped by the water features at Eskenazi Health 
to find that the grasses and water plants
are settling in nicely around the falls.
Visitors have already begun to throw coins
into the fountain, no doubt making wishes for
the recovery and good health of 
friends and families.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Bummer: Swimmers ...

 ... Beached.

It doesn't look it, but the water in this section 
of the Riviera Club pool is three feet deep.
When I got off the bus at the club's entrance, I felt
light raindrops on my face. I looked west,
towards the Speedway area and the clouds were
dark, filled with rain. I remembered "Indy 500"
telecasts from years ago, when the announcers would
have occasion to say, "It's raining in Terre Haute,"
about 70 miles away, and know we had about 
an hour before the front reached us.

Saturday morning, as I walked up the drive,
the clouds were in Speedway, only about 
five minutes from the pool. The shower 
turned into a nice thunderstorm, 
trapping about a dozen people,
who're not ordinarily averse to being wet,
under the veranda, away from flashes of lightning
and thunder. For about an hour folks chatted, then went 
their separate ways, some to find an indoor pool, 
others to wait until Monday afternoon.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Summer Days with IAM

With the Natatorium closed for the next two weeks
 due to meets held there, I swim at the Riviera Club. 
The sounds of running water and children's 
chatter in the background make the sessions more 
relaxing - for me, anyway. There are wooden lounge
chairs pool-side, occupied by middle-aged 
matrons, gossiping among themselves
as they basked in the late afternoon sun,
while a couple IAM members put in some
additional laps. Their fins and kickboard contrast 
with the pool toys left on a nearby bench.

Friday, July 25, 2014

I Jus' Cain't Help It

I was idling this morning, sitting on a nice bench 
in the shadow of the Federal Court Building. 
I happened to look more closely at the facade 
of the building when I saw these curves,
setting their negative and positive spaces against
each other in a most comfortable way.
Then all the curls and ringlets set off
the straight lines, softening the severity of
the limestone facade.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Rainy Day/Sipping Chai

I sit, sipping chai,
gazing out the window
at the gray, drizzly morning.
I think of you last evening 
as you strode across the room.
I caught a glimpse of your bare back
above the waistband of your jeans,
And longed to touch your smooth skin,
To feel its taut silk beneath my fingertips
where it curves along your spine.
So close. So far away, you may as well 
be walking on the moon.
But the warm smell of you,
Even in my imagination, 
brings comfort to the cold rain
of my days.

Monday, July 21, 2014

A Kiss Under the Bridge of Sighs ...

A legend says that if Venetian lovers in a gondola 
were to kiss while passing under the Bridge of Sighs 
at sunset as the bells of St Mark's Campanile toll, 
they will be granted eternal love and bliss.

I don't know how that story applies to the bridge 
over the Central Canal at Michigan Street, 
but I'm more inclined to believe commuters driving
over the bridge would sigh in resignation
as they approached their cubicle jobs in downtown
Indy. That would be closer to the original story,
that said prisoners would sigh as they crossed the
bridge on their way to prison, knowing that the view
of Venice from the bridge would be their last.

A watercolor painting of the Bridge of Sighs
 by John Singer Sargent, 1904.
The Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York 

The gondolas live under the bridge during the day,
then are available for rides along the Central Canal
during the evenings. I've seen them being poled
the along the Canal and tied outside 
nearby restaurants.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Mermaid and Mermen

Early Saturday morning, I went to join other members 
of IAM for a swim practice at the Riviera Club 
on the near north side of Indy. I've been doing this 
for just over a year now. When I first went to Rivi, I could
not swim a full length of the pool (fifty yards)
without stopping about half way to catch my breath 
gather my nerve. On this day, I did most  of
the workout and was slightly chagrined
that the coach on deck did not ask me for more.

We began at eight in the morning and,
ninety minutes later, as I dried off in the spring-like
morning air, I looked over to see the little mermaid
floating in one of the kiddie pools. 
While a cartoonist's version of a female figure,
she nevertheless reflected the same version
of the body I still dream of attaining;
even in late middle age, I find myself affected
by years of social conditioning that
I need to look a certain way in order to
be attractive to men. What the hell?

This time a year ago, I could not swim 
seventy-five feet. I've since lost weight amounting 
to five dress sizes, I can swim over a mile 
without stopping, and I'm looking for more distance;
I want to swim three miles in the near future,
over six miles as the next goal, with longer-distance
open water swims as a main goal. 
 But, really, I still just want to be pretty

Friday, July 18, 2014

A Muted Rush

This is the introverted part of the day,
when the city's rush is muted by the rain, 
it's sound hushed by the spray
from tires on the pavement,
whispering their agreement.
Umbrellas, bright as flowers,
bob along the street,
Sprung from a garden of people
 cringing inside their coats. 
Heads down, strides choppy as they 
proceed to the day's work,
they rarely look around as they
"connect" with a disembodied other,
closer to voices than to people.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Cy Twombly in Downtown Indy

The textures and muted shades of concrete and brick
on a downtown building reminded me 
of Cy Twombly drawings. For whatever reason,
I can gaze at the artist's drawings for long periods of time,
lost in the lines and scratches evoking long-lost
civilizations and mythologies.
The rebar emerging from the concrete walls 
of this old buildingand the graffiti below seemed 
to echo some of Twombly's interests. 
I stood there a good while, gazing at the wall, 
its textures, and subtle changes in tone. 
In a time when every imperfection is screeded
over by a coating of scratchy taupe stucco,
this wall was a visual delight.

Cy Twombly. Untitled. 1964/84. Oil stick, wax crayon, and
graphite on canvas. 80-1/2 x 98-1/4 ins.  Whitney Museum of Art

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Monday, July 14, 2014

Bird on a Wire

I love things like this, a few spare lines 
against the background. 
In this case, a blue and white morning sky
provides the backdrop for electric wires and
their insulators. The little dove manages
to balance the whole thing.
Then, of course, it's inevitable ... 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Criterion/Criterium Criteria? Dunno.

OK,  it's called the Indy Criterium.
That didn't seem right to me. I looked it up, 
got no results for that misspelled *criterium,*
but got criterion instead with a definition
that seemed apt: a standard by which something 
can be judged or decided. Whatever.
Attempting to meet a standard seemed to be
exactly what these cyclists were trying
to do when I saw them Saturday morning.
This group was participating in the 
Men Masters 40+/50+ Race, a 45-minute 
competition on a .95-mile course over 
the streets of  downtown Indy.

Over sixty men participated in this heat.
Led by a blue Mini Cooper, riders flew around
the hourglass-shaped course so quickly
that the Mini was really having to work to maintain
it own position as pace car, honking and 
beeping as it entered the intersections
to warn pedestrians of the approaching peloton.

The riders shown above quickly sprinted 
to a substantial lead over the rest of the field. 
I don't know whether they were able 
to maintain that dominance to the end because 
I left well before the race finished. But I wasn't able 
to leave before one of the leaders crashed, heavily, 
to the street. Winded and definitely injured, he was trying 
to help medical personnel tend to his wounds 
(a broken collarbone, at least?) as I left the area, the other 
cyclists speeding by as the race continued.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Contrails and the Sun

I happened to glance up at the building 
across the street from my bus stop
to see that the rhythm of its glass-clad
carapace had been interrupted.
Two long contrails from jets made a scraggly 
white trail, breaking up the blue grid, 
and the sun's bright glare threatened to burn 
a hole in the offices above.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Dear Harley

I love Harley. I wish he was my dog.
For years, I have watched him as he trotted across
his human parents' lawn to greet me,
the spring in his stride and muscles rippling
under his gray ghost coat.
He's older now, and sometimes would rather 
bask in the sun than check out a squirrel invader
or come over to me to be adored and get
his chest scratched. But his profile
is beautiful, and he remains confident
that he is loved and admired by all,
including his neighbor.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Jean Dubuffet in Speedway

I was walking through a Speedway neighborhood 
a couple years ago when I noticed 
a driveway that had been repaired with slurry seal 
in a manner resembling the artwork 
of French Artist Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985).
Since then, it's as though the long-dead painter
has taken up summer residency here
to paint the streets and driveways with easy,
drippy strokes to form interesting
compositions on the grayed asphalt.

 Jean Dubuffet. l'Hourloupe. 1966. Ink on Paper

Monday, July 7, 2014

Independence Day: A Walk In An Armed Camp

I saw this display as I was on my way home 
from work and went back on Independence Day 
for a picture. Given the area where I live, 
I'm not at all certain the man who put up this flag 
and I would agree on anything except 
that this country is in distress.

Yesterday, the city of Indianapolis lost another policeman, 
a twenty-two year veteran, when he was shot 
with a semi-automatic weapon by a known felon;
bullets from the gun were so powerful they 
ripped through the officer's vest. This is the third man 
killed in the line of duty and the eighth shot 
in the past eighteen months. ER docs, who tend to
the victims of these crimes, see this as a major
public health crisis.

On the one hand, you have an entire culture of 
villains with access to firearms who use them at the 
slightest provocation. Friday night, seven people were shot
when one man became upset when another man
bumped into him. On other occasions, police will go
to the site of a reported shooting to find no 
victims, but they will find a great number of shell
casings. It's as though it's evidence of
premature ejaculation, with the casings the
spendings from a violent ecstasy spread
all over the sordid alleyways.

And then there are the other idiots, the ones
who insist on their right to bear arms, as designated
by the Second Amendment. Well, that's another
fantasy, with those folks thinking their right to carry
a weapon will automatically render them safe
from harm. Hell, if they were to be attacked by a robber,
they'd be dead on the ground before they could draw
their own penile extension. In those cases, the attacker
would already have their weapon drawn,
meaning the "victim" would virtually have to walk
around with his gun in his hand and -- there you
have it, another idiot showing his dick.

In between, there are the normal, every day folk
who just try to go about their business
while walking between these two armed camps.
It is an appalling reality, with the flowers
and beauty of the season stained with blood
and intractable stupidity all around.


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Psychedelic Cow Patties

It's a cow patty cupcake-palooza!
Technicolor invites to sugar comas to last 
through the July 4th weekend.
Eat one, get an insulin spike and nod off
'til the fireworks start.
Eat the whole carton and you'll never
know the explosions and "rockets' red glare"
ever occurred.
Below, a baker has sketched an outline 
for the on-going penis sweepstakes
over on the wonderful Cake Wrecks website.
This one is ready for a personal message: 
"Dear Mr. Grey, I've found a fifty-first shade 
I want to try with you." 
The cawlerin' on this cake seems 
a tad pissy, though.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

It's a Rainbow

The apparel shop that closed a month or so back
has reopened as Rainbow Fashions.
This seems appropriate, given the brightly
hued garments on the mannequins
and hanging on the racks in the background.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Pink and White

I don't know what these little pink flowers are called, 
but I love the delicacy of both their color
and structure. Here, they dance lightly against 
a backdrop of snowy hydrangeas,
a flower whose presence will remain well 
into winter, a dried, papery shell of its spring beauty.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Theme Day: Celebrating Summer

For the Town of Speedway, summer began 
last May with the inaugural Indy Grand Prix and
the Indy 500 on Memorial Day.
As for "celebrating summer"?
Shoot, if you can't find something in this
town to interest you, then it's you that has a problem.

We're already in the throes of numerous athletic
events - cycling, swimming, running;
food festivals from the innocuous church ladies
and their strawberries and cream, to what seems
to be any excuse to down buckets of beer
and myriad deep-fried foods on a stick.
There's church league softball and 
minor league baseball, as well as the city's
new professional soccer team, the Indy Eleven.

Musical performances ranging from genteel classics
performed by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
to raunchy pyrotechnics of last gasp middle-aged
hard rock bands will dance their way
through town, with the Indy Jazz Fest spreading
into an increasing number of venues later
in the season. Yep, there's plenty to do. 

Some mornings though, I just like to get up early 
to enjoy summer's golden light.
From the added glow to the little window display 
in a Speedway shop, and to the fiery reds 
of this homeowner's house and car, summer's
colors are celebrations all by themselves.

This blog is a member of the City Daily Photo 
portal, a loose gathering of folk from all over the world
who each day post images of the cities where they
live. To see their interpretations of today's theme,
click on the link above, or on the CDP badge in
the right hand column.