Monday, August 1, 2011


Nailed down
beside the road

wind turbines
stand motionless

hot with rows
of utility poles

limp American flag
such a prisoner as I

pass the brewery
air heavy in hops

empty beer cans
last night's vodka

along the way
I see your face

imagine myself
on a plane lifting  

above the dull
I walk in the door

pull on the fan
and exhale

Tess Kincaid
July, 2011

Recorded by the lovely R.A.D. Stainforth.  Check out his excellent blog, Black Dogs.

image:  Skip Hunt

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  1. The old abandoned relics along along the road do seem trapped in another time. They are stuck, whereas we are able to fly above the dull. I, too, often walk in the door and exhale after a long day. Ah, the comfort of home.

  2. tess there's a passage america is undergoing and it's holding on so tightly to the past that in retrospect seemed so clean and uncluttered and good and best of all promising. the abundance of decay and deterioration in the streets and especially on the little back roads undercuts the dream. my advice, my wish for america is ... be patient, stay the course, shape the dream with the hands of your hearts. steven

  3. ... pull on the fan and exhale.

    Wonderful imagery, Tess!

  4. Exhaling is good, but only if we can also inhale, and there are too many times when we'd rather not.

    —Kay, Alberta, Canada

  5. I like the circle you completed with the turbines in the beginning and the fan at the end. Well done!

  6. i love what ladycat said... so true...the comfort of home


    kary and teddy

  7. willow,
    It's hot here too.

  8. Onerous, stifling, prickly, sultry
    and nothing moving on the earth
    but you, gliding home, sucking
    in that dead heated air, feeling
    the hair stick to the back of
    your neck, imprisoned by the
    A/C in the rover, like Marilyn
    opening that fridge in SEVEN
    YEAR ITCH; and there's more,
    as your sweaty ride allows
    you to miss a loved one, so
    far away; and there you are
    alone, overheated, cranky.
    and poetic. Love the lines:
    /limp American flag such
    a prisoner as I/ then shifting
    to an action; first the personal,
    then the movement, pushing
    against the oppressive heat
    like a chicken with clipped
    wings longing to escape
    the coop.

  9. "pull on the fan and exhale." Love that.

  10. Tess -- I could ude one of those old fans during this summer heat -- barbara

  11. "Last night's vodka" - that sealed it for me. Excellent, Ms. Kincaid.

    Mine, on the other hand, will have to wait for Tuesday. I'm not quite settled on what I wrote!

  12. For some bizarre reason I had a Elizabeth Taylor changing her stockings in a scene from A Cat On A Hot Tin Roof pop into my head!..Brill!

  13. "Maybe if I took the little fan, put it in the icebox, then left the icebox door open, then left the bedroom door open, and soak the sheets and pillowcase in ice water... no, that's too icky!"

    Marilyn Monroe, "The Seven Year Itch"

    "What is the victory of a cat on a hot tin roof?—I wish I knew... Just staying on it, I guess, as long as she can..."

    Elizabeth Taylor, "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"

  14. Aaaand That's why it popped into my head!..Well done mate!

  15. whew...thanks for the relief from the heat there at the the textures of this as you build the scene...

  16. Your poem brought back thoughts of the house hold fan of my youth. It was a big old thing which could be pointed in any direction....pointing at the ceiling was the best way. We would stand over it and let the air puff out our clothes, cooling our hot skin. Later we kids would get our faces really close and say AHHHHHH into the blowing air just to hear the way it would distort out voices. You just can't get the same effect with an air conditioner.

  17. Steviewren, I love your fan memories, they are so much like my own!

  18. That sent a gust of stale hot air across the Atlantic this early morning. I wish I had the skill to send a cool breeze back to you.

  19. ..i like the feeling of those lines.. ease the discomfort circling around… the path t’wards the end is exquisite especially the line ‘bout seeing someone. Have a nice sleep. (:


  20. How can something so simple, lines so brief, words so short, be not only beautiful but imbued with the ability to stop an old fool like me in my tracks? Only you know Tess.

  21. Not enough exhale to make the fan go round...shucks.

  22. FABULOUS!! i so feel that great lakes area sigh going out.....
    remember when: we were so looking forward to summer's green?
    careful, enough already!

  23. The kind of landscape we can't get past...home, and sweet tea, this!

  24. Stifling my breathing, your poem oozed sweltering and gritty into my chest cavity Tess, puddling salty... I know you're boiling in the buckeye state, my in-laws live close by you there..

  25. Great evocation in picture and words of the weather.

  26. I love the sound and feel of a whirring fan although here in Phoenix, it must be accompanied by an air conditioner :)

  27. Terrific, as ever, Tess. Those blades.... this photo so totemic/resonant for me as a Westerner-- I live blocks from several feed mills and know the windmills on the horizon well. xxj

  28. I have memories of no a/c and fans in windows. So steamy here lately. I love the libra sense of balance here in this poem...lovely, Tess!

  29. I really like the first six lines.

  30. Tess,
    Abandoned metal relics can be an eyesore but a feature of art when viewed by poets. How nice!

  31. Kincaid, this, and your "Abandoned America" pics, remind me of a poem by Edward Thomas:

    Tall nettles cover up, as they have done
    These many springs, the rusty harrow, the plough
    Long worn out, and the roller made of stone:
    Only the elm butt tops the nettles now.

    This corner of the farmyard I like most:
    As well as any bloom upon a flower
    I like the dust on the nettles, never lost
    Except to prove the sweetness of a shower.

  32. R.A.D., the Thomas is lovely, and fits with my photo series so nicely. Thank you.

  33. Seriously, is there any way better to end a poem than with the word 'exhale'?
    I loved the imagry you put in here.

  34. Talking of exhaling, Tess, I held my breath throughout.

  35. I can so relate to turning on the fan and exhaling. It's supposedly 88 degrees outside, but it feels like 200 half the time :)

  36. I Have No Plume

    I have no answer for exhaling
    no plume to call Valerie
    i only see Bridgeport factories
    and sad liberations
    of nothingness
    ridiculed by the sun
    the rain came
    without water yesterday
    what were we to do
    because the time to answer had expired
    and we had our mouths closed
    like a drum skin
    at dawn.

  37. This says heat and tired to me. Nice piece.

  38. Anonymous, a sad, but beautiful write. Thank you.

  39. I have read and reread and reread this poem because each time, I see something else that I missed previously. I did not miss at anytime though the passing of the brewery where the air was heavy in hops - I know that aroma well - in London I once lived near a famous brewery which I drove past regularly. This wonderful piece of writing brought it all back to me along with hostile heat.

  40. You create the mood and feel wonderfully. I'm going to stand in front of a fan now!

  41. Very evocative poem. I love the images and mise-en-scene, leaving the reader free to inject their own action.

  42. the heat rises and settles. nice work...

  43. There's a potent sense of atmosphere and place here. It's the more telling in the wake of the sultry weather we've just been having!

  44. a wonderful story, and an insightful one, as usual. Makes one think.

  45. Your poem is wonderful, I truly enjoyedit!:)

  46. I have missed coming here to sit and visit and see the pictures your words always beautifully convey! This one speaks of freedom to me....amazing as always Tess!

  47. Thank you for your kind and encouraging comment, gentle readers. I know, I always say this, but you really are the best.

  48. all the abandoned used up items along a barn or in the farmland.
    Great image and wonderful poem.

  49. We have an old 12' tin man who still stands along the road waving to people driving by. He used to move from place to place without warning. If he disappeared from one site we would wonder where we was going to show up next! Thanks.

  50. You express shrinking the world to the manageable well as you 'walk in the door, pull on the fan and exhale'. Let's pretend that is reality. Maybe we need to.

  51. Ah, a wind turbine...and the connection to the fan at the end...brilliant! (I couldn't make head nor tail of this one, so glad others could) Really like the "stickiness" of this--in time, in heat, and then relief. Thank you.


Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)