Damn them, they are wrong. They are insane. Jeremy will take her like the Angel itself, in his joyless weasel-worded come-along, and Roger will be forgotten, an amusing maniac, but with no place in the rationalized power-ritual that will be the coming peace. She will take her husband’s orders, she will become a domestic bureaucrat, a junior partner, and remember Roger, if at all, as a mistake thank God she didn’t make….
—-Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow
Downtown Dallas, Texas
It is sunset. You are fighting your way through traffic in the cold dark heart of a gigantic metropolis… cut off from the sky at the bottom of a crystal canyon up farther than you can see. Tired as an old cold bowl of leftover soup staring at brakelights in the wet cold of winter, ozone and gas fumes, the wheel gritty and the seats sprung under your aching back. There are untold miles to go and unknown blocks of jam between the never-ending red light and your warm, soft bed.
And there she is, the Angel of Neiman Marcus forever striding in elegant grace behind glass, out of place on these mean streets, A thing of beauty where no beauty should be expected. Quarter granted where no quarter was expected. You might make it home, yet.
In their brief time together Slothrop forms the impression that this
octopus is not in good mental health, though where’s his basis for
comparing? But there is a mad exuberance, as with inanimate objects
which fall off of tables when we are sensitive to noise and our own
clumsiness and don’t want them to fall, a sort of wham! ha-ha you hear
that? here it is again, WHAM!
“They swore by concrete. They built for eternity.”
― Gunter Grass
Concrete slab, Fabrication Yard, Dallas, Texas
As I was walking around looking at the various walls full of graffiti at the Fabrication Yard, my eyes fell to my feet and I spotted this little metal thing embedded in the concrete. I’ve seen these before, but never really looked at them. Back home, it didn’t take much looking – it’s from the Jack Day Construction Company – which, of course, specializes in concrete work.
Yet for all his agonizing all Pointsman will score, presently, is an octopus – yes a gigantic, horror-movie devilfish name of Grigori: gray, slimy, never still, shivering slow-motion in his makeshift pen down by the Ick Regis jetty … a terrible wind that day off the Channel, Pointsman in his Balaclava helmet, eyes freezing, Dr. Porkyevitch with greatcoat collar up and fur hat down around his ears, their breaths foul with hours-old fish, and what the hell can Pointsman do with this animal?
Already, by itself, the answer is growing, one moment a featureless blastulablob, the next folding, beginning to differentiate….
“Graffiti is one of the few tools you have if you have almost nothing. And even if you don’t come up with a picture to cure world poverty you can make someone smile while they’re having a piss.”
― Banksy, Banging Your Head Against a Brick Wall
Inside, The Fabrication Yard, Dallas, Texas
This is a tough time of year for me. I suffer terribly from allergies from the evil Mountain Cedar Trees in South Texas – the clouds of pollen destroy me. The worst is the inability to get an effective night’s sleep. I go into awful hacking coughing fits every fifteen minutes or so.
That makes for long and unprofitable nights.
It was cold today, cold enough that I didn’t want to go outside. But as the day went on, the sun peeped out a little, and I decided to git. I wanted to go take some photographs somewhere, and after a bit of web searching, I found a candidate. There’s a place in West Dallas, near Trinity Groves, called The Fabrication Yard. It’s some old abandoned warehouses that the city lets taggers spray graffiti all over.
I packed my camera and drove down there. The highway had a big cluster of fire trucks and miles of traffic – luckily for me going the other way – but I made a note for the trip home.
When I pulled up I could smell the telltale tang of scorched soybean oil alkyd and solvent left by fresh aerosol paint. There were obvious drug deals in the street, pulsing music from one shed where someone was shooting a rap video and one guy painting a wall – otherwise pretty deserted – while I wandered and shot some pictures.
“It is almost startling to hear this warning of departed time sounding among the tombs, and telling the lapse of the hour, which, like a billow, has rolled us onward towards the grave.”
― Washington Irving, The Sketch Book
Large Bell, Edo Period, Crow Collection, Dallas, Texas
Large bells such as this were common in the Edo period to mark time for communities. They were often paid for by collecting coins from parishes and locales, and then melted down for the metal. These bells are clapper-less and were struck with a large wooden beam. With the introduction of Western clocks into Japan, fewer large bells, like this one, were needed. Modernity also called for replacing the traditional calendar based on the zodiac with a January to December year. Bells continued to be made, but their use was more commemorative and ceremonial than practical.