Saturday, June 6, 2009

A Drive Down Memory Lane . . .

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. . The Vanishing Point
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Sometimes it does not take much
Just the faintest suggestion
The softest touch of a hint
To bring the memories flooding back
And this sometimes is why we blog
To exorcise those ghosts ?
To let a bit of one's true self show ?
Fearing to say too much
Wanting to say more
Hiding, hiding
.
I wonder some nights
If I may be a cat
With nine lives
Some of them gone by now
Which could explain
Why certain days
I simply hate to drive
.
The road through the forest
Is long and straight
Built by Romans to last
Even if the builders did not
As I drive that road at night
At the very far visible end
There is often a point of light
The vanishing point
Invariably it says to me
You too will reach
Your personal vanishing point
One day, one night
Yet I drive down that road
Do not turn back
And the vanishing point
Draws near but recedes
For now
.
If nine lives had I
Then at least four are gone
In four wrecked cars
I was a passenger in
Which could explain
Why I hate to drive
Flying is safer by far
Even if sadly
Entire aeroplanes
Sometimes fall
From the sky
.
Age 19, an afternoon
Spent with friends
At a racing track
Stupid kid stuff
Driving home from there
The driver thought
He was still on the fast track
He missed the second half
Of an "S" turn at 60 mph
Hit a tree bounced off
Slid up the road 75 feet
The guy next to me
In the back seat
Fractured his skull
I was just dazed
Fell down when
I tried to walk away
From the smoking wreck
.
Age 20 after a college football game
Spent drinking whiskey in the stands
Four idiots piled in a car to go
Who knows where
One minute later the car plowed
Into a bridge pillar
One idiot from the back seat, me,
Flew forward and broke
The rearview mirror off
The windshield
The next morning he was found
Lying in a dormitory hall on the floor
With a white chalk outline around him
Like the corpse after a shooting
Having no idea how he got there
Fortunately, a girl took him in
And nursed his wounds that day
.
Age 25, hitchhiking in France
A BMW to take me from Macon
to Bourg en Bresse was t-boned
At a blind intersection
The driver was hospitalized
Me, I just had a sore neck
The car was totaled
The frame was bent
Broken glass all over
Car wrecks are an awful sound
Usually preceded by
The protesting squeal
Of rubber burning
From skidding tires
.
Age 28, coming home
From a visit to the grandparents' place
My father was driving
Trying to pass a pick up truck
On a back New Jersey road
When the truck turned left
Down a side road
The impact was hard
And sent us into the trees
I had been trying to sleep
In the back seat
Took off flying into
The back of the front seats
Wrenched the neck again
To this day
Have trouble sleeping in cars
And my neck still hurts
When it rains
.
Four wrecks as a passenger
Never as the driver
But that could change tomorrow
Driving is an awful lottery
Far more dangerous
Than flying
Sometimes I think
I can taste my death
And it tastes like blood
From punctured lungs
Coming out in fine drops
Around broken teeth
How many lives do I have left
I wonder
As I gaze up the road
At the vanishing point. . .
.
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And I apologize if in writing this and posting these pictures here that I took in a junkyard, if I have appalled anyone; but car wrecks are an appalling subject, and more people have been victims of crashes than one might imagine, with varying degrees of gravity, and varying levels of post traumatic stress disorder. My intention is not to be maudlin or depressing, this is catharsis. This is therapeutic. These days I try to forget all that, and try to laugh over the little pleasures in life. . . but some days, the memories are there, and will not easily leave.
.
So tell me, has it ever happened to you ? Are we not lucky to still be here ? Yes, I think . . .
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Hard to believe this was ever actually an automobile at all . . .
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The scrapyard blues . . .
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32 comments:

@eloh said...

You are lucky to be alive.

Laurie said...

It is a miracle you are still here - well, four miracles, anyway! Remind me not to travel in a car with you, Owen! Very thought-provoking - reminds me of an assignment in Turkey which required a daily commute with an 80 year old taxi driver who thought nothing of overtaking thirty lorries, nose to tail, forcing oncoming traffic off the road. The last straw was him deciding to overtake a bus as we came into town on the way back. Unfortunately, he turned the wheel in the direction of the nearside instead of the offside. The photographer and I were treated [if that is the word] to a rollercoaster ride across very rough ground. I lost count of the number of times my head hit the roof as the car bounced. Perhaps that's what causes my dreadful punning . . . ?

PS have a look at:
http://addictive-photography.blogspot.com/

Laurie

Suburbia said...

Good Post and photos.

Someone said to me this week that any morning you can wake and see the new day is a day full of promise.

I think we blog to exorcise our thoughts, good and not so good and it feels right to do so.

Thanks for visiting me :)

the watercats said...

Always look at the horizon.... and kick on!... one of the rules of horsemanship, also one which is a handy saying to keep in mind through life.

clo said...

amitié Owen...je n ai pas tout compris mais suffisamment je crois...we are lucky to be here...and life is dramatic sometimes but beautiful sometimes too...

ladydi said...

I had no idea you had been through all that. I, too, hate to drive, because of such possibilities. We have a patient at work who is suddenly, as of Monday, a quadriplegic, because someone else ran a red light. His entire life changed in one instant of someone else not paying attention.

I'm not too keen on flying either, but you are making me feel better about it.

Jill said...

This is great, Owen. It says a lot (quality content). And no need to apologize...as you say, other people have been through the same sort of experiences. I've been in several accidents, totaled two cars - sadly, including my '62 blue Beetle with sunroof! (first car). And I hate to drive because I seem to narrowly avoid an accident every time I'm behind the wheel (I'm just an awful driver, and no amount of practice helps).

I had just been thinking: I wish Owen would post a serious poem like in the past...You keep us entertained with your funny kidding, but I like the serious, thoughtful side of you too. :) Glad you survived your accidents intact.

Rain said...

Hi Owen! You've read my blog, so you know that I use it not only for fun and nature stories, but to work out the past horrors. I liked to see this side of you! I didn't like the 4 near death crashes you went through, but I have to say I couldn't stop reading, and wished you'd written more. I am extremely lucky to have never been in an accident of any sort, except once when I was 15, I was biking and my brakes gave way and I hit a car - flew right over his front end, all that was broken was my watch, but my bike was bent in half. I felt as though I had reached my vanishing point in 2007, but for whatever reason, I didn't vanish, and now the horizon is very far away.

Beautiful post!

Loulou said...

Dear Owen, I believe that every action, every phenomenon has a meaning. You could live, you could "survive" in one way. More than lucky, it is meaningful and certainly you should be happy and more than ENJOY every single moment of this life.
And today, we are thankfull to have you among us.
I never experienced any car accident, so I can only guess the feeling....
Take care
Loulou

ArtSparker said...

What a story, if I were you I think I would wear padding or body armor just to walk around...and I wouldn't get into cars ever.

louciao said...

I think you have some fierce guardian angels looking out for you, Owen!

A dancer friend I used to know once said, "Just keep moving, the pain will eventually stop."

jeff34 said...

Bonjour mon cher Owen ! Comment allez-vous my dear ?
Alors après les cimetières cimetières, tu proposes les cimetières de voitures...! Ben c'est pas tout gai tout ça m'sieur Owen !.. On sait qu'on finira tous là... mais le plus tard possible ! Non ?
Ceci dit, la vie est dure et pas toujours beautiful !... Mais bon ! On va pas se lamenter devant le miroir et se le répéter comme la méthode "couwaouih" !
Le mieux, même s'il ne reste plus que qqs heurs, qqs jours, qqs mois, qqs années, qqs siècles, qqs... heu non !... le mieux c'est de penser... ben de penser à rien.. j'allais dire une connerie de plus !
Owen, j'aime qd même beaucoup tes carcasses de voitures qui nous rappellent que tout ne tient qu'à un fil et... merde au fait...!
MERCI AUX AMERLOCS EN CE BEAU JOUR DE 06/06/09...! Sans eux... que serions-nous ? et sans toi, que serais-je Owen, pixelpot ?
Allez... pense à prendre ta "BEEP"... je vais en faire de même !...
Ciao AmigOwen ! A plus !... Bis... non mais ça va pas ! ! !
Jeff

jeff34 said...

J'oubliais ( j'oublie toujours un truc chez toi ! )...
Tes poèmes ou je ne sais... tu pourrais pas nous les éditer en french de temps à autre ! Tu sais, Galilée te le dirais, la terre ne tourne pas autour des States !... Alors,... je résisterai jusqu'au bout !... Je fais qd même des efforts ds mes post... alorsalors alors...! Tu verras, d'ici qqs années, le bon camembert, pinard, baguette redeviendra tendance ! C'est mon expérience "communication" qui me l'a soufflé !
Bon, c'est pas tout, mais t'es un sacré pot de colle !...
CIAO ! Au fait, t'écoutes un peu ma playlist ?...mmmm'ouaih !

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Truly, you have kept your guardian angel busy. Glad you are still around to share yourself and your view of the world with us.

jeff34 said...

Heuuu ! Juste encore un truc...! Le porte-jaretelle immobile commence à cocotter a little !

jeff34 said...

Bon, j'ai essayé de déconner un peu... mais apparement , le sujet est grave ! Alors... silence !
Owen, je comprends tu sais... mais je ne vais pas te raconter ma vie ! devant une bonne bière alors !... mais très difficile ici ! ! !
Alors pleurons !... J'ai comme principe de voir devant moi... te raconter quoi...? La mort des proches, la souffrance, un enfant... et ça va faire quoi de plus...!... Parler est essentiel, mais peut-être pas ici, sur la planète Blog !
Ahlala ! Owen ! Malgré tout, la vie est devant !
Bonsoir my pixelpot ! Tu sais, j'ai parfois mal moi aussi...!
Bon, elle est où cette bonne "BEEP" ! 'vais rejoindre life in beautiful live !... Ciao et à bientôt j'espère.... devant !
8')

English Rider said...

A Mother's Nightmare!

Marguerite said...

Sounds like you were born with a horseshoe in your pocket, Owen!
Thanks so much for visiting and adding me to your reading list! I love Paris and your sense of humor and sharp insights! Nice blog!!!

Adrian LaRoque said...

Hey Owen, a lot of parts for sale man!

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Well I take my hat off to you for being able to drive in France. The M25 off-peak is about my limit!

Though the two crashes I have been in as a driver were not my fault, they were pretty bloody horrible. And battling the insurance companies for any compensation afterwards was at least as bad as crashing!

mo'ikeha said...

There's a hill close to my home, back in Germany, that I just had to ride down with my new bike.
As it became however pretty fast, wanted to break and in my fear did choose the front brake, which resulted in a summersault and two broken rips, a pierced lung etc.
However arose on my own and walked the half mile home. Spend two weeks in hospital and ever since celebrate a second birthday - which will be next month.
Glad that you are still around, having the bravery to express things thought.
Please have a nice Sunday.

Unseen Rajasthan said...

You Are Lucky To Share Those Scary Moments With Us !! God Is So Great...Thanks For Sharing..

J said...

Do insurance companies charge a premium for people who frequently carry you as a passenger?!
I am fortunate to only have ever been in one minor car accident.
I went to university in rural west Wales, where the roads are tiny and studded with sharp bends. I'll never forget the moment of horror when a lorry came screaming round a blind corner and it was only thanks to the quick reaction of the bus driver that there wasn't a smash, as he managed to get the bus out of the way by inches.

Not Waving but Drowning said...

Crikey Owen, you appear to have led a charmed life.

Does your mother sleep at night?

GG

becomingkate said...

I have never been in a bad crash, **knock on wood**

Glad that you weren't hurt badly!

Loulou said...

Owen... have you noticed? Moon is magic tonight. Full at 100% as per your header... Nice idea!

You may want to go and see this at Nikonsniper: http://nikonsniper.blogspot.com/2009/06/1965-ford-mercury-fairlane-convertible.html

See you
Loulou

Friko said...

congratulations on saying alive this long! Do try and stay around for a bit longer, I enjoy your posts and as I've only found you a short while ago, I wish to go on reading them.
C'est la vie!

Owen said...

I would like to thank each and every one of you for your words here, you are all, well, wonderful, and I can't tell you how much your kindness and support means to me, especially in response to this difficult subject. I didn't get back here to respond as quickly as I'd like simply because the weekend was busy, busy, busy, with my daughter's dance show yesterday, and then an entire evening out in Paris celebrating with two friends who just turned 50, and a little tennis to watch, and D-Day speeches, and it was Mother's Day here in France, so I took la Grenouille to see a movie she wanted to see (Good Morning England !) and then I called a couple of friends in the US, and before I knew it, it was 04h00 already Sunday night/Monday morning before I got back to this.

But just to cover a few of the responses here, saw the full moon rising tonight... beautiful, I've been a moon freak for ages.

Yes, have certainly contributed to some of my mother's gray hairs ! Unintentionally of course.

No, no one will insure me now...

Guardian angels have been working overtime on my case, for sure. (thank you angels, don't go away)

Yes, I think I will start wearing a full suit of armor when I go out in cars... there are some museums around here that could probably loan me one...

For the blog references, many thanks, I will go look.

For those of you who have suffered from traumatic accidents, well, like the Watercats said, just keep your eye on the horizon, and kick on... Excellent advice !

So again, a million THANKS to one and all of you good people, am going to kick on now... because as Jeff so wisely pointed out above, we will of course sooner or later kick it, so no need to focus on that too often... but again I can't tell you how much your thoughts here touched me.

Lille Diane said...

Thank you, Owen. This was hard to read, and yet, comforting. Last night I had a very difficult PTSD moment on the road that thrust me back to my accident. In an instant I was reduced to a sobbing, terrified woman. My experience, I'm working on calling it "my off road adventure"... is why I started blogging. I didn't blog today because I didn't know what to say about it or wondered if I should talk about at all. Your post has given me the courage to "talk" about it. I'll post tomorrow about what happened Saturday night.

I'm working on looking at the horizon... I know I'm going to kick it someday, and I can totally understand how you feel. Thank you for visiting me, noticing the PTSD in my profile and most of all encouraging me to come read this post. Between you, and Rain "Mountain Mamma".... I'm in good company with strong women (people) who are survivors just like me. Thank you, Owen...so very much.

Cynthia said...

HI Owen, I could only just glance over this post but I wanted to answer your question: Yes , I have been in car wreck...a serious wreck in Death Valley on highway 15 about an hour outside of Las Vegas. The little Geo Metro rolled many times, a truck driver in that remote place saw from a distance, called in on his CB radio, and stood in the middle of nowhere to wait with me until the 'chopper arrived to cut me out and fly me to the nearest hospital...and today all day I've been thinking, why am I alive? How can I forget that I am alive? I should feel elated...excited...overjoyed...but seriously, I forget how lucky I am...may you have a peaceful life journey and know that everything from here on out is beautiful. Thanks for finding and following my blog -may your creative spirit thrive!!!<3

Owen said...

Lille Diane, I wish you all possible strength to face those demons, and hopefully one day exorcise them... I think it does help to write or otherwise communicate... to get over the hard days. I think the old expression "time heals all wounds" should stay visible too...

Cynthia, so glad you made it out alive from Death Valley... that's a rough place to have an accident. And thanks for stopping by here, drop by any time if you want to chat, the coffee's always on...

Momo Luna said...

Hello Owen,
first of all i stumble upon your blog by surfing on the net. I was attracted by your 'comments ode'. :-) And now i'm glad i'm here. It's a pleasure to read your words and to look at your pictures.
And now for this post: i don't think it's depressing because of the way you choose your words. Your words are well chosen, beutiful, making curious and more. And you are one lucky guy to survive all this. I am lucky too, 'cause i've never been in a carcrash and i hope i never will.

Sweet greetz from Momo Luna, The Netherlands