Thursday, November 26, 2009

Close Call

Well, it's not only about photography... this is a true story, for what it's worth...
.........Close Call
I had left the big heavy red crowbar
Lying a little too close
To where I was digging
With the pick-axe
Trying to excavate
The massive cement slabs
Which the idiot previous owners
Of this house had partially buried
Around the edge of the sand filled pit
In the back yard
That served god only knows what
Incomprehensible purpose for them
They didn’t have any more kids at home
When they built it
These days all the neighborhood cats
Ours included
Were using it for their shitting ground
And pissing palace
Midnight meowing and howling ring
And we’d had about enough of that
So there I was
Swinging that damn pick-axe
For all I was worth
Starting to sweat in the cool October air
Plowing through sand
And the packed dirt below
Cursing at tree roots and buried rocks
Waiting to hear the knock
Of iron axe on wood
If I hit one of the coffins
That must be there somewhere
Or the chest of buried gold
When my hard swung axe
Collided with the end of the crowbar
That was hanging over the edge
Of the mystery pit
Launching it into the air
With a resounding clang
At a terrific velocity
End over end
I actually heard it whistling
In slow motion
Right past my right ear
Aware of a red blur
Streaking by my eye
As it rocketed upward
Into the tree branches above me
I heard it slashing through leaves
Like a helicopter rotor blade
Like a machete
Wielded by King Kong
And then it fell
Harmlessly in a shrub
Bounced back down to earth
Hardly was airborne
More than a few seconds
I was naturally a little shaken
Couldn’t believe it in fact
In a state of denial
I mean the damn thing
Could have killed me
And who would have believed it
A crowbar for crying out loud
What are the chances
Of that happening ?
And how embarrassing
It would have been
To have to have been taken
To the hospital
With a crowbar
Sticking out of my ear
Better to be dead than alive
In that case
Or if it had just struck
A glancing blow
Enough to open up
A gaping bloody wound
Needing forty stitches to close it
How do you explain that
To the emergency room nurse
And how would my wife have felt
If she had found me there
On my back with a crowbar
Sticking out my mouth in the air
A somewhat surprised look
On my glazed over eyes ?
How many people are victims
Of launched tool accidents
Every year anyway
Flying crowbars clawhammers
Nail-guns chainsaws and whatnot ?
I got off very easy this time
Feel like I won the lottery in fact
Another millimeter
One way or the other
Could have programmed
Another trajectory
Another ending
That is what you could call
A very close call
And it will teach me
Not to leave that big red crowbar
Lying just any old place
The next time
I’m out raising hell
In the backyard


Lynne with an e said...

Is it wrong of me to laugh?

Your story reminds me of so many episodes I've been through with Pierre. Including the time he appeared at the back door, clutching his hand, dripping blood, and asking if I'd mind driving him to the hospital. ''Oh my God!'' quoth I, ''You`ve cut your finger off!''
To which he responded, ''Not OFF.''

I am very happy you escaped unscathed, BrOwen. Sorry for giggling.

Deborah said...

You've cheated the National Enquirer of a ripping good headline.

Owen said...

Ahhh Lynne, there you are sis... good to know he didn't cut his finger entirely off. Funny how some folks are just accident prone... Once knew a guy who nearly lost an eye to a nail gun... and split his head open while ice skating, things like that, a whole series... And even if the crow bar had gone in one ear and out the other, like one of those fake Hollywood arrows in movie westerns, it would be perfectly fine for you to laugh all you want... go ahead, giggle girl, giggle...


Hi Deborah, my but you are up early this morning... or is it me up late, I'm so tired now I can't tell... anyway, not sure I'd want to know what the National Enquirer would have to say about all this... best not to tell them !
Top of the morning to you !!!

Barlinnie said...

I once saw a fella take a hidden screwdriver to the back of his leg through carelessness by its previous owner. It wasnae pretty at all. I'm with you on this one.

Adam said...

I fired a staple into my sister from a staple gun once. She wasn't happy!

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

I knew a guy who was chopping firewood when he got annoyed by this wasp that was buzzing around him. Finally the wasp landed on his leg and without thinking he swatted at it with his axe. He did get 40 something stitches and he did face the embarrassment of explaining to the doctor and all the cute nurses about how he axed himself.

You are so lucky.

Roxana said...

i had to do a google search to find out what a "crowbar" is, but only after finishing the poem, like that i enjoyed the expectation and let my imagination play wild with different shapes :-)

i am sorry i haven't got the chance to comment on the previous poem you posted, i have been keeping to go back to it because i like it so much. and i am quite attracted to the simple style you use, the everyday language, the balance of (self)irony, humour and tenderness, the challenging inquiries about the contemporary society - all woven together to give us a glimpse at human destiny, a deep meditation about life, born out of seemingly unimportant, fleeting details of the mundane.

Steve said...

I once punctured my fingertip trying to remove a bent staple from a staple gun. But that really doesn't compare...

:: Karine :: said...

owen je suis désolée je n'ai pas tout compris, mon anglais me fais défaut mais je vais revenir et prendre mon temps pour te lire à nouveau :-)

ps : je ne suis pas peintre mais j'adore la peinture (j'aurais adoré !!!)

je t'embrasse fort mon owen xxx

Nevine Sultan said...

Yow, Owen! Close call, indeed... and I do understand, totally. You did win the lottery, buddy. Even better, you won your life. I tell you, I don't know how sometimes things like this happen, that we're about to be annihilated, but somehow make it through. Something out there... in another dimension... I don't know what it is, but I'm glad it grabbed you and kept you here. I'm happy to wish you a beautiful day, Owen, and to thank you for sharing this experience. It's a tie that binds.


Virginia said...

You must be more careful! I'll admit your recounting of the whole episode had me laughing a bit. Tell us, did you finish the job?

Anonymous said...

Owen, that was what they call "grande arte"!

jeff said...

Hé bien, tu vois ! Pour une fois... Même avec le traducteur, je me suis régalé ! C'est pas que les autres fois je me faisais... tu m'as compris... chier... allez, n'ayons pas peur des mots... Mais là... J'ai adoré ton texte et ton histoire !...;-)
Pied de biche ! Connais-tu Owen le pied jaloux et le piège à loup ?...;-)

Ceci dit, tu devrais remettre des photos... Les mangeurs de grenouilles qui ne savent pas lire ce foutu british et qui ont la flemme de faire fonctionner leur traducteur sont aller se faire voir ailleurs ! ! !...
Sans déconner ! Tu pourrais pas nous pondre un peu de français ! Tu pourrais céder à ma demande ! Merde !...:)))

Ciao amigopix !
Ta poésie est bien belle mon ami !

Deborah said...

The sun comes up 8 hours earlier here - where the Rockies are within view. I'm in the midst of a Canadian urban sojourn and enjoying the change from quiet, rural, Provencal life.

Deidre said...

One must watch out for flying tools.

The Sagittarian said...

Oh dear oh dear, glad you're ok there Clumsy Sod! I am only laughing cos Big Sis is laughing and she threatened to pinch me if I didn't laugh with her!
Seriously, the health & safety wallah in me is cringing...where was your job safety analysis?

@eloh said...

I was once forced to briefly work with a guy who had shot himself in the ass on TWO separate occasions. Both times while getting into a car. He was still wearing his gun in the back waistband of his pants. Some people just don't learn.

I wonder what the newspapers would have said happened if you had not survived this incident and there had been no witnesses.

Another fine poem.

Gwen Buchanan said...

So a little Thanks-giving is happening on your side of the Atlantic too.. Lucky you!!!
Maybe the previous owner tried to remove them too but he wasn't so lucky... and that is why they are still there... maybe those cement slabs are not to be removed !!! You have been warned!!!

John gave Tthanks last winter in the middle of a furious blizzard when he caught himself just before he almost fell off the roof (about 28' up or down whichever way you look at it) .. he was trying to fix roofing shingles being ripped off by a ferocious snow storm.. He didn't tell me for several days... and there wasn't enough snow on the ground to save his soul...

CiCi said...

The good thing for your wife and family is that you state clearly in this post that you learned something from this incident. It did make a lasting impression on you. That's good. Hope you and the family had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

L. said...

Oh my! Put away that crowbar! I am terrible about my garden tools! On occassion have stepped on a rake and whacked my head! But crowbars, axes, and other heavy objects -- those I am much much more careful with :-). Thank goodness no damage done!

PeterParis said...

Nice writing of what could have been another stupid accident - almost all accidents are! Happy it went well, so you could tell us about it!

Loulou said...


A quick note regarding the photo blog of Yanidel, which I like very much, and his post dated today will be of great interest for you I am sure :

Take care my dear Owen

French Fancy... said...

I had to quickly jump ahead to the end to make sure I wasn't going to find a tragic ending there. It still made me wince though.

Marguerite said...

Fabulous poem, cher! I laughed so hard at your descriptions of the cats sh------ ground and pi----- palace! And maybe the crowbar was left over from the last chap who tried to dig up this mystery pit! Seriously, glad you weren't hurt!

Anonymous said...

There is still much 'need' of you, which forces you to remain.

A wonderful weekend for you.

Owen said...

Jimmy B, no that doesn't sound pretty, but then I guess most everybody at some point or another has seen the bloody side of life, that serves to remind us how fragile we are...

PS, I loved your story about grandkids asking questions about deities and heaven... I think you were right to refer them to the squirrel... squirrels are smarter than we know...


Adam ! I'll bet she wasn't happy ! You must write now 100 times : I will not shoot staples at my sister, I will not shoot ....


Dear Lone Grey, that's incredible... guess the axe was fairly sharp. Wow ! What a terrible thing to have to explain to the cute nurses...

PS, if you have a second, see Jimmy B's comment above, and click through to his blog, in a very recent post just a day or two ago there is a nice reference to squirrels... I didn't copy the link into your comment box as there wasn't a photo, but I thought about you... funny, eh ? Am seeing squirrels everywhere since finding your blog...

Owen said...

Dear dear Roxana... I have been so intrigued by what you may do to keep going, to earn a living, and I keep thinking you must be in a university, a professor to inquiring young minds, or purely an artist with a gallery in Craiova perhaps, or maybe just the princess in that castle I mentioned, but whatever, you have such an incredible way with words... were I vainer than I am, I would print and frame the small paragraph you have written here, I don't think anyone has ever summed up what I am trying to do so... so... perfectly as you have here. Yes, that is it, fleeting glimpses of the mundane; you are a sorceress with words and images... and once again tonight I will be off to sleep with your series of the colors of our pain floating, floating on these eyelids...

Ah, and yes Roxana, a "crowbar", now there is a good word, although I don't know why it is called a "crow"-bar, nothing much to do with large black birds about it, nor why the French call it a "pied de biche"... I sort of like that, a "pied de biche"... the French also affectionately refer to someone they like alot as "ma biche", so, I wish you a fine weekend, ma biche...


Hi Steve, well, puncture wounds can be among the worst you know, one doesn't want them to get infected...


Bonjour chère Karine, je suis profondement désolé de ne pas avoir traduit en français, il y a Jeff aussi qui réclame une traduction, mais le temps me manque sérieusement ces jours-ci, pour le boulot le pire moment de l'année... le mois avant Noel, grace à notre société de consommation de petits cadeaux... je préferent les cadeaux comme ce que tu viens de laisser ici, car même si l'anglais est un peu obscur, le simple fait que tu es passée, que tu as laissé un petit mot sympa, me touche, me touche... En tout cas, tout cela se résume en quelques mots; un jour en creusant dans mon jardin derrière la maison pour enlever des dalles en beton que les proprietaires avant avaient laissées, en tapant fort avec une pioche, j'ai malencontreusement tapé sur le bout d'un pied-de-biche que j'avais laissé trainé, le choc l'a lancé dans l'air, le pied-de-biche, comme une fusée qui monte, passant à coté de ma tête par qqs centimetres et jusqu'en haut d'un arbre par là ... donc, le "poème" racontait mon soulagement d'être encore en vie, sans pied-de-biche à travers la tête... bref, une histoire idiote, mais parfois la vie nous propose des situations inattendues et un peu idiotes...
Bon weekend Karine... merci encore...


Hi Nevine, yeah, close to annihilation at times, sometimes I think I've had more than my fair share of brushes with annihilation... I won't go into the parachute accident here... ! Or the car wrecks... or...
But in any case, yes, I'm happy to still be here, even if just a little longer, one never knows... every day is seeming very precious to me these days. These blogging exchanges for some reason seem totally intense and fraught with surprising pleasures and joys and laughter... and your writing is weaving itself right into that tapestry which is the blogosphere, I'm so happy to have stumbled by chance on Dreams & Deliriums...


Owen said...

All, I'll be back here to continue answering all you wickedly wonderful people just as soon as I can, but right now, my pillow is calling me to come float in dreamland for the next six or seven hours... a fine weekend to each and every one of you...

ladydi said...

This kind of thing gives wives and mothers shivers when their loved ones pick up large, heavy, implements. AAK! Thankfully all's well that ends well.

Owen said...

Hi Virginia, I Shall be more careful, I promise... And I did finish the job finally, all the slabs of concrete came out, the hole was filled back in with dirt, and grass seeded, soon will look like nothing ever happened there but a quiet stretch of lawn...


Merci Dedene, well, I don't know how "grand" it is as art, but it's from the heart in any case...


Ah Jeff, vraiment, il faudrait que tu t'inscrives pour quelques cours d'anglais, non ? Comme ça, le soir avant de te coucher, tu pourrais te régaler en lisant Shakespeare dans l'original... ce serait chouette, non ? Bon, peut-être en 2010 ? Ce n'est pas si difficile... allez, si moi, l'étranger peut faire un peu d'effort pour lire le français, tu pourrais en faire autant, non ? Mais bon, si tu as capté qu'un pied de biche a failli me décapiter, c'est l'essentiel... et je suis sûr que tu es ravi que ce foutu pied de biche m'a loupé...
Alors... c'est que le programme pour ce soir ??? Bon, je passerais voir...

Ciao, mon ami, merci pour tous tes efforts quand même avec l'anglais... tu vas arriver...


Ah Deborah, cela me rassure, que tu n'es pas en train de tapoter des commentaires sur des blogs à 5 heures du matin quand même... Have a great trip then in Canada !


Deirdre, hi... you may be right, there are probably alot more flying tools out there than we know about, some may be flying so fast we don't see them... thanks for dropping in here btw...


Dearest Saj, you are right, entirely, I'm a clumsy sod for sure, and I did not read the safety manual for that crowbar, which surely would have warned me against smacking it with a pickaxe... silly me ! So, you gave in to pressure from that big sister... jeez, us twins should stick together, no ?


Hey @eloh, jeez, I've heard of people shooting themselves in the foot, but never in the ass ! And twice ! That's a bum deal...

The newspapers would have probably said : "Caution, do not go out of doors, as crowbars are being fired at innocent civilians by UFOs " !
Well, depending on which newspaper... Many thanks !

Owen said...

Hi Gwen, well, whether they were meant to be removed or not, they have been now, all GONE ! History ! And good Riddance ! Glad to hear John managed to hang on up there in the howling blizzard and not take a 30 foot plunge... could have been ugle, especially if he'd been snowed under an not found until Spring thaw... would have been reported as a missing person ? Happy endings are better...


TechnoB, yeah, I sure learned something, next time I'll wear a crash helmet... many thanks, we did have a nice Thanksgiving, but actually, it's not a holiday here, so I had to work... but we get plenty of other holidays, so that's not a problem...


Liz, given that I had discovered the crowbar's murderous intentions, I buried it deep in the hole, and covered it over... shouldn't see it again any time soon, unless it crawls back out of the ground some dark and stormy night to come pry a window open and get back into the house !
Arrrggghhhh... the return of the crowbar !


Peter, indeed, indeed, I was feeling mighty stupid that day... I do have serious bouts of stupidity at times, I don't know what brings them on... many thanks...


Hey Loulou ! That's great !!! So many thanks for seeing that and thinking of me ! Namasté... I left Yanidel a comment about the Paris Dog Cemetery, will see if he(?)she(?) gets in touch with me, in any case, I'm glad to know I'm not the only blogger who ever went there... Is Yanidel someone you know ? Or did you find this just be chance ? In any case, a hundred shining thank you's !

Bye for now, and have a fine Sunday !


Dear FF, ahh, hope you were relieved then with the ending... I sure was... I guess it could have hit me on the way down as well... fortunately it missed me in both directions... dumb luck I guess...


Dear Marguerite, glad you got a bit of a laugh. I think in fact that crowbar must have had a voodoo spell cast on it long ago, and it was looking for an opportunity to do someone some serious bodily harm... I think I'll send it back to an iron foundry and have it melted down to make a ball for playing petanque with maybe...


Hi Robert, perhaps you are right, it wasn't my time, so maybe there is still something left for me to do here in this world... which is the best of all possible worlds, right... Happy Sunday to you...


LadyDi, indeed, indeed, plenty of shivers to go around in light of all the power tools and other big toys that guys like to mess around with... A very happy Holiday Weekend to you and all the family... !

:: Karine :: said...

merci owen pour m'avoir racontée l'histoire :-)
bisous xxx