With apologies/ to Aristophanes

I am a great fan of clouds,
especially the caulifloral cumulus of a Florida summer sky,
ranging like distant mountains.
Or trundling by overhead as we watch, openmouthed,
like merfolk gazing up at clipper ships plying the surface.

At times too painterly to be believed,
Stereotypical. Romanticized. Trite. Postcardish.
But it never gets old. How is that?

Now darker, shadowed by erupting anvil-topped monsters.
Now thinning and attenuating into stratus layers of melancholy.
Or just disappearing, 
like almost everything does, eventually.

I wonder: do dogs notice them? Birds? Snakes?

I watch the ever changing cave-paintings on the sky
as humans have done for hundreds of thousands of years, 
seeing analogies, lessons, similitudes, and

-- if I try hard enough --

just condensation.

Like myself.

[seymour clouds]


I used to write.

I used to write.
I used to write a lot. I took classes in it. I got published, man.
Some people say it was mainly to get chicks.
No, not mainly.
(Though as a means of impressing whatever sort of entity you’re interested in scoring with, there are worse paths, it’s true.)
But then I quit.

Oh, I put out several thousand words of academic writing circa 2010, freaky rhetorical theory stuff, critical theory and culture studies and ecofeminism with more performances and hegemonies than you can shake a stick at. I'll even argue in a separate forum that I advanced an esoteric peninsula of scholarly inquiry. And laid to bed a nagging bucket-list item from my twenties in the process.

But that’s not the kind of writing I mean.

The kind I mean is the kind that people have actually said they are sorry I don’t write any more.

The kind my aunt meant when she said, after I told her I don’t write these days, “Shame on you.” And not kidding.

The kind my daughter recently said she missed.

I mean that voice I stumbled into, laid back into, blasted myself loose into — my voice — when I was writing about wisteria and mermaids and The Freon Jones and palmetto bugs and Ecoman. The feary mysteria.

I tell myself that photography has become my medium, that I always was better at description than plot or characterization anyway, and the picture:words ratio remains what it has always been, so if nothing else it’s the lazy writer’s way of celebrating the odd and the breathtakingly gorgeous in this world.

But photographs can’t say what I’ve said so far. There is still so much they can't say.

I wonder if I have any more stories in me or verbal songs to invent. But of course I do. There is that whole story about offshore Pleistocene civilizations, for one thing. Gotta be told. Bluesy gothic Lovecraftian Faulknerian operas to be writ. There’s that psychedelic pop song, too, and the poetry of invertebrates below the 10 fathom line. The aliens and the pizza delivery guy with his antique Volkswagen. Lost tales of conquistadores and county sheriffs.

These things gotta come out somehow.

Stick with me, it might prove worth your time. That's really about all I can ask.


Bruce and the Mini-subs

Hearing stories from Dog Island post-Hurricane Hermine put me in mind of another aftermath, over ten years ago, when a storm surge from Hurricane Dennis inundated much of the island and left debris piles for months.

One standard-issue consequence of storm erosion is the emergence of septic tanks -- vaguely submarine-like fiberglass vessels with what we'll call an ominous air about them. The one in the photo below reminded me of classic Civil War monitors, or even Japanese WWII mini-subs:

I captioned it "Hobie pontoon and mini-sub" and posted it to Flickr along with a set of post-storm photos. Here's another evocative poop-tank shot:

My late, greatly lamented illustrator friend Bruce Hall -- always ready with Photoshop and a kindred twisted wit -- saw it and used another of my shots from Lake Seminole to create this chilling historical re-enactment:

As I described it there:
Government secrecy has -- until the release of this photo -- concealed the scope of the "Battle of Thronateeska Landing", which demonstrated the alarming extent of freshwater intrusion by hostile forces during WWII. Photo credit: Bruce Hall.
 You may have seen the military memoir:

Of course, thoughts of small, unusual submersibles naturally led Bruce to the next discovery, which confirms the rumors that Only A Northern Song was about bathroom tissue:

And who can forget this classic adaptation of a less well-known Asimov sequel?

Nothing like the heady sophistication of toilet humor to get the creative juices flowing, I say.

I miss ya, Barce. Definitely a duller place here without you.