Greenpoint, October, 2015

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Tireless Ravelling

Time (Sept. 1958)
Our most automotive poet? Reader, my candidate would be Tom Clark. I base this judgement not only on the content of his poems, like the beautiful and enigmatic "The Tire" (below), but also on his fine Beyond the Pale blog, which depicts our automotive culture and its detritus.

Clark is an inveterate collector of images, often from the American west of myth and reality. Sometimes he combines these with original poetry, other times not. The image at right comes from a post titled: "Industrial Archaeology: 'You could be only 1/16 of an inch from eternity,'" in which he collects tire ads from the 50s and 60s from Time, Life, The Saturday Evening Post, and other mags.

The Tire

The story thread runs out through your hands
To many places, indicating them as snags.
You take the tire apart. Even so, the process
Solves its own knots as it continues--gingerly--
To slip out of your hands. There is always
A looseness, open and moving, it says here
In the event. Then why does every tug on the 
Strings complicate everything, raveling
Up further the almost impossible ball? When
Know-how shows itself for what it is, will Grace
Grow free and exact to award the useless
Virtues their place? Do I have to wrestle
With every thought on earth like this? I mean
Will an angel arrive and untangle them all?

(From Light and Shade: New and Collected Poems.)

In another post, you'll find photographs of Edward Burtynsky, showing massive dumps of tires and other automotive wastage, like the one below from Westley, CA.

Edward Burtynsky, 1999

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