Lines of Longitude

From the Pillars of HerculesShutter_reflections__Santa_Monica.JPG
They travel west to reach the east
Circumnavigating the globe
With Harrison's clock
To maintain the course
Crossing the Atlantic like Columbus
Wondering where to go next
And when they’ve reached there
Going on, ever onward
To a newer than new world
Trans-American highway
State by state and line by line
River beds and mountain tops
Great Lakes and gouged out canyons
Picking up the trade winds
Until Route 66 crosses the continent
Heading for the date line
At a hundred and eighty degrees
Zig-zagged with cut-backs
From the straight and narrow.

     Horizontal louvers
     Cast shadows on a wall
     With lines parallel but not quite straight
     Dividing the infinite and unending
     Day after day till the end of days
     Lines of longitude
     Count the years with crows’ feet
     Smiling in wrinkled skin
     Shrivelled with subcutaneous damage
     Of over-exposure
     Long lines laid out as neurons
     Tied in a topknot over the pole
     Projecting an image sharply
     Onto grey matter
     Where straight is no longer straight
                                                                                                                                           So the shutters close
                                                                                                                                           With the Ferris wheel in reverse
                                                                                                                                           Returning to the solitary confinement
                                                                                                                                           Of the Med and their older than old world
                                                                                                                                           As the clock strikes twelve.
Thoughts on lines of longitude prompted by the shadows of shutters and other lines at Shutters on the Beach Hotel overlooking the Pacific and the Santa Monica Pier where Route 66 ends. 

Los Angeles
31 December 2009

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