Archive 2: Bath, UK

luis

London. Up at 6:00.
Daughters acting like they're
being martyred on Tower Hill.
More rain. Why do I love London rain?
Because it's so cool to say "London rain," no doubt.
One of those Donovan songs I'd listen to
in San Diego, where I'd never see London, where
I'd seldom see rain.

Paddington Station.
Bought Chayo a Paddington Bear
at the last outlet in London registered directly
to the author. Paddington with his little hat.
The salesman said: "The author's a lovely man.
Eighty-some. But just like you--no lines
on his face. Me? I've got all the lines.
You and he--no lines!"

Pigeons in the roof of the station
open their wings and drop like hang gliders
out of the light.
I share my Starbuck's skinny muffin
with a strutting reunion of rock doves.
Chayo says, "That pigeon's just chillin'."
For the rest of the trip, the big kids
will mock her relentlessly. "That train?
Just chillin'."

Cinderella calls me "The pigeon lady."
Like one of those park bench pigeon feeders,
my molar suddenly falls out! Cursed crown!

Herding five family members to the train car
is crazy stressful. And expensive. I'VE GOT
A GREAT BIG HOLE IN ME JAW!

Screaming down the rails. All near the tracks is a mad blur.
You have to focus on the middle distance to see anything.
We blast into the country, startle suburbs, and back to the fields.
Great yellow meadows under heavy skies.
Scenic half-timbered houses on small rivers.
20 swans in a perfect triangle on black water.
Oil tanks behind ancient
arched stone bridges.

Newspaper headline:
"England Is The Sickie Man of Europe."

Rusting factories, graffiti mad walls
and then, horses.

Every country house
in this rainlight
looks like a watercolor.

Farmer and dog.

Fields, wildflowers, smears of orange.

Behind me, the businessman with the nasal voice
chats up the businesswoman with the strong perfume:

"That's why," he says,
"I wouldn't want my nurse to be Sarah!
She's so bloody...she's
so in her head!
She'd do her job better
if she got a boyfriend.
She's lost weight, though.
Stopped drinking.
Riding her bike."
I'm thinking, GO SARAH.

Foreground fields: dark.
Background fields: bright
as electric lights.

"Molly's ex is posting Facebook messages about cricket.
Clearly, veiled threats to her."

Our kids sleep or play video games. Nobody
looks out the window. Nobody's practicing mindfulness.
Nobody's listening. When you're a kid, you think
you already know. You think you'll be back
1,000,000 times. Why look?

Good luck
with that.

Conductor:
"We're pulling into Swindon five minutes early.
I reckon the train's running on Red Bull this morning."

Businessman, earnestly:
"People
know me
and they like me."

Far mauve hills.

Sheep!
Little white
exclamation points.

All these fields, and no Mexicanos
bent over with short hoes.

Chippenham.

"I went to her brother's stag party.
And I met some really fun guys there!"

Lovely, lovely Bath.
Entering a stone and green-hill dream.

[Summer 2010.]

Comments

Cara Lopez Lee (not verified)

Thanks for the ride. I see it, and you, and you're both wonderful to observe. I get it:

"When you're a kid, you think
you already know. You think you'll be back
1,000,000 times. Why look?"

Exactly. Precisely. They say children see everything as if for the first time... but if you work it right, it becomes truer for adults. Or maybe we see everything as if for the last time. Is that more mindful?

Sorry about your molar.

el poquito (not verified)

never been to England. thanks for the ride on the train and meeting up with Paddington's homeland.

cheerio ; )

May K. Cobb (not verified)

Thanks for taking us on the journey with you.

Love all your dispatches from the road.
:) may

Sylvan Woman (not verified)

Perhaps your lines are all on the paper?

Seriously, wonderful post. Lyrical and almost wistful. Maybe because you left us at Bath's gate.

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