The Mile-High Club
by Phantomimic All right reserved © RAGG
1) The Mile-High Club 2) Leaving Baltimore 3) The Sculpturing of the Land 4) Tiptoeing on Clouds 5) A Mathematician's Daydream 6) Tug of War 7) The Colorado 8) Peanuts, Pretzels, Crackers and Cheese Bits 9) Desert and Space 10) San Diego Moon
The Mile-High Club
To tell you the truth, I didn't plan what happened, I had no inkling. I've recently joined The Mile-High Club! But it's not what you're thinking. Let me be clear and make this selfexplanatory. This club requires no physical exertion, no contorting under blankets, or sneak trips to the lavatory.
When the plane took off I just looked out my window, at the magical world outside. Then I seized my camera, brought pencil to paper, and by my muse I did abide. So I put it all together and here it is, my mile-high poetry for you to enjoy. I hope you find it interesting. I hope it brings you some joy. And if you do as I've done you'll be able to say too that, like me, you've joined the poetry Mile-High Club!
We visit the aquarium and then walk along the border of the water followed by hopeful seagulls. We have lunch at the Rusty Scupper and afterwards climb to Federal Hill Park where we enjoy the view of Baltimore harbor while tasting the salt in the breeze. When I see you like this in all your glory gleaming under the sun with your windblown hair framed by the Baltimore skyline I want to scream, "I love you!" I want to remain with you forever and promise you I will never try to leave again. But my mind is made up, this will be the last time I see you, it has to be this way, for my sanity, for my life. I smile, you don't suspect a thing. "It's time to go." I say, and we walk down to the American Visionary Art
Museum where I first met you, where we have met many times. We go to the exhibit hall where I caress your hair and give you a bittersweet kiss. You ask me if I will see you again soon. "Yes." I lie, still forcing myself to smile. When no one is looking I help you climb into your portrait. Because this is the American Visionary Art Museum nobody has noticed your absence, nobody knows you have been sneaking away with me leaving behind an empty picture frame. You give me one last smile and assume your pose. Your body becomes two dimensional and you are gone. I turn around and head out of the museum. Tomorrow in the morning I will board a plane and leave Baltimore never to return again.
The Sculpturing of the Land
Hills rise from the ground like folds on a rug, interspersed with valleys meandered by rivers, crisscrossed by roads and dotted by the white specks of houses. Mountains become more numerous and resemble red sand dunes casting dark shadows from the rising sun. The shadows look like thousands of reservoirs of dark waters feeding shadow streams that give rise to shadow rivers flowing around islands of light.
The neatly arranged parallel mountain chains give way to a fractal pattern of drainage creases where darks and lights alternate like interlocking fingers. And then the rugged uneven hills start yielding the land to a patchwork of shapes that impose a measure of order on the chaotic landscape. The wilderness is beaten back to the low-lying areas that border farm fields or drain the earth. The sculpturing of the land has begun.
Tiptoeing on clouds
Clouds appear sporting bumps, like popcorn. The bumps band together into a foam-like substance that seems to flow over the land hiding it from view. The clouds become denser and form mighty clusters that rise, their tops disintegrating in the strengthening sun like waves that crash against a rocky shore.
A new world of illusory solidity appears before our eyes.
It resembles a desolate artic landscape of eternal snows.
The grooves on its surface give it the appearance of land
on which some monumental vehicle has left tire tracks.
And here we are tiptoeing on clouds, taking for granted what the explorers of yore could never do before, cruising one mile above the ground and one mile closer to God.
A Mathematician's Daydream
The clouds recede and I see that the fractal chaos of nature has yielded to the orderly geometry of the art of the farm. As far as the eye can see, a colossal quilt unfolds. Colored in shades of green, purple, yellow, brown and red.
Rectangles and squares, and squares within squares, and circles, semicircles, quarter circles, pie charts and packman figures. A mathematician's daydream rules the land. And each farmer and his crop field becomes part of something grand.
Tug of War
Further west the circles and squares decrease and a bland smoothness overtakes the terrain. Rivers which resemble tree branches with their many stems and twigs drain the thirsty land and a few roads crisscross the landscape going from nowhere to nowhere. Then the land rises and reaches for the sky: the mountains appear. It is a titanic tug of war that is played out many The snow on their tops resembles giant mats of guano that are being slowly washed down the slopes, draining into lakes of sapphire blue waters. In this desert environment elevation infuses soul into the inhospitable ground making it teem with life. times over this landscape. The mountains and hills covered in shades of green against the faded reds, browns and yellows of the desert. The land rising creating mountains, hills and life, and erosion withering then back down into barren ground. But this exuberance is fleeting. On the other side of the mountain as the land falls the desert reasserts itself. For a moment below the snowline there is an explosion of vegetation, the geometric shapes return in the valleys at the foot of the mountains, and small towns sprout here and there.
Grain by grain, pebble by pebble, rock by rock, the land is washed down gullies that turn to ravines that turn to gorges that turn to canyons and canyons of canyons.
Millions of years of natural history glisten in the sun like layer upon layer of a gigantic and ever-deepening birthday cake.
All slowly drained into the mighty river that serpentines down below, donning its cloak of multicolored soils.
Flowing into the great inland sea of Lake Mead
held back by the crescent of the Hoover dam.
Peanuts, Pretzels, Crackers and Cheese Bits
Peanuts, pretzels, crackers and cheese bits, really, is that all you've got? You know, many years ago they had real food here in the economy class. For breakfast they had omelets or scrambled eggs with toast and sausage or bacon. They had little bags with salt and pepper and a fancy moist cloth to wipe your hands. For lunch or dinner they had beef, pork, or chicken with vegetables, and potatoes or rice. I'd wipe the sauce from my plate with a little piece of bread and wash everything down with white or red wine. They even had some decent apple pies and cheesecakes for dessert! Ah, those were the days. But now I'm all bummed up. Peanuts, pretzels, crackers, and cheese bits, is that really all you've got?
Desert and Space
Alluvial rivers of sediments descend from shrinking mountains, a fleeting snapshot of eons. Thousands of ghosts of dry streams insinuate themselves into the land decorated occasionally by the optimistic green dots of bushes. Drainage patterns where the small imitates the huge imitating the small.
The potholed, thirsty, wounded earth, eroded and creased, crisscrossed and ditched, at times resembles a huge sea of sand
with waves that seem to flow towards rocky shores where sandstone spires cast long shadows like sundials and slumbering craters from extinct volcanoes dream of their glory days of fire.
The unforgiving barren terrain merges in the horizon with the white haze above the mountains, which progresses through shades of blue to the dark immensity of the unforgiving barren reaches of outer space. And within the confines of my pressurized cabin I am reminded that what we call "life", with all its multifaceted complexity is nothing more than a thin slice of matter sandwiched between our planet and the endless universe.
San Diego Moon
Give me a taxi to drive me to my hotel. Give me a key to let me into my room. Give me a shower to wash off the dust of the road, and a window to stare at that San Diego Moon.
Give me a phone so I can call old friends. Give me a bar for us to drink and sing sad tunes. Give me a hazy night to walk to yonder park, under the trees and that San Diego moon.
Give me the dreams that we shared just yesterday. Give me the memories of good times gone too soon. Give me some palm trees lit by lights from below, and from above by that San Diego moon.
Give me those moments that will last forevermore. Give me more time, my plane departs at noon. Give me your words that you'll remember me my friends 'till we meet again under that San Diego moon.
All photographs by Phantomimic.
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