Camel fence

I collapsed upon the floor in the tent.

My car , a prado wrecked outside the flaps.

My host offered me coffee from a golden pot and some dates to eat. I was shaking from the shock of course and shivering from the mental flight.

‘What’s your problem mate ?’

‘I think it’s a case of the camel and the needle’ big bloody camel just came onto the car. Lucky I rolled it actually. The car that is. Otherwise it would’ve come straight through the windscreen. Just like a kangaroo.  Of course you can’t really build a fence to keep the Kangaroos off the road. But I see you have a pretty decent fence here.  So what’s with the camel?’

‘Inshallah someone will keep the gate closed next time.’

‘Well like I said, the car is a wreck out there in the heat and dust., had some water sat least and it didn’t get chucked out., but I hit that palm tree pretty hard. It all happened so fast.   The brakes, the camel, the rolling flight through the air, thinking… This is going to be bad… And then hittin the palm half way up and bouncing off that with dust and burning all around.’

‘You kill the camel ?’

‘Must’ve grazed it at least’

‘Maybe it hopped back over that camel proof fence you got out there.’

‘You got a bit of a graze there though mate. How’s the head ?’

‘Think I hit it on the roll.’

‘Hope the camel’s ok though. It’s got a much longer neck- and a heavier head really.’

‘Sure – / – you sure it was a camel ? I mean – there is a fence – no gate / camels can’t jump – and they usually don’t survive entanglement with a prado — you get my meaning?.’

‘You must be dreaming’


A pearl of wisdom

Just then though the light turned down. I thought the jagged Island would give a colored mystery. A diffusion of grey, like a water color of a muted trumpet against a rhythm of blue, where thinner wings buzzed in the misty air with no intent but to be there


That sound led me out there, and as I approached, I saw a woman standing. There she stood, just off the shore, with her white arms waving slightly but her head cast down.  I went up to her in the fading of the light.

“Can I borrow a pen ?” wondering what else to ask.

She looked at me carefully and nodded slowly, but said.

“Please, just waiting one moment”

I waiting a moment continued for quite sometime, and the tide receded till eventually only the crab holes were exposed in the mud.  Waiting a moment, like in a lobby bar in a far off oriental hotel.

“How do you like the Island ?” I asked.

She looked around and then back and laughed…

“Just like an inverted martini,

kept cool by a woolen scarf and beanie”

I thought maybe she was crazy, standing out here all alone, well almost all alone, and then whatever she said came in laughter and rhymes.

Down lower goes the light, falling behind the isle, but we still stand waiting, looking for crabs or something, she doesn’t say…  Or crawling things with neon eyes and skittering sideways with lots of legs and darting minds.

“So what then are you looking for ? ” I asked quietly.

“Do you really want a pen ?” She asked me back, then said.

‘dropped my earring in the tide in the light

waiting one moment ’til time is right

when the tide runs out, it will be muddy and new

gleaming in the moonlight

a single pearl

yes, altering your view’

Estuary Island
Estuary Island :Photo by permission – Jeanmarie Shelton

Brittle Cold Metal Spire

The photograph crackled when i looked at it the second time. The first glance was fine.  I had printed a heap of them, only to find this one of a tree with a blank grey Northern sky of late winter. I’m sure the photo was fine, but then a great metal crack appeared zooming through it. Like it couldn’t restrain itself. It just had to be. Life is so like that at times, everything seems fine and then an irreversible crackle sounds suddenly and you struggle to mend the cold enormity of it and maybe even pretend it is not there.  But it is, real and larger than the tree you so carefully cultivated for years.  You see that evident sometimes, divorced people tear their brittle life photo memories apart, or fold then in half and keep their ex facing the hardboard of the picture frame, while they cheerfully look out into the room from a scene from way back. Perhaps the folding types want to keep the ex there, just in case – perhaps they can mend the whole thing somehow.  Hope to mend the love that was, now lost in an instant.

Still the crack itself is not a gap, it’s a thing dividing the brittleness of the scene.  I went back there, to the park with the tree in it.  And yes, i felt i had to go an touch the metal of the tear in the air, spiking up like lightning in reverse.  It was cold and heavy with condensation to touch and I felt no calm with its seemingly infinite jagged height. Made of hardened stainless steel and welded together, it’s permanency in the face of future storms looked assured. The rent in the photo had turned into a real thing.  A spire of substance, permanence and worth.

Still there is hope and a faith in mending. Love is something which can be rebuilt and mended. There is still time to take another photo of the tree. Just the tree this time, steady in focus with my back leaning on the cold of the spire. And so the new photo shall not crack.

Tear the Air