On the Orleans Rotary
I’ll fall back
into the pattern of the world.
I’ll still be free
On the Orleans rotary.”
From “Some Day”, ‘The Automatic Poems’
That’s poem number one in the Cape Cod “Summer Daze, Deserted Winter” section of my newest book of poetry, the first stanza. It’s a hopeful poem, I think, and I’m glad I wrote it and was able to share it. And by the way, for any readers living outside the United States – say, Scotland – what we call a ‘rotary’ back there in Massachusetts you likely would call a ’roundabout’. (See – “Penny Lane”)
I grew up in a town officially designated as “The Gateway to Cape Cod”, Wareham, MA, and from there took numerous trips over the Bourne or Sagamore Bridges somewhere onto the Cape. In fact I walked over the Bourne Bridge one night on my way to a dance at Bourne High School (fight for the purple and white) and my foot went through a hole where there was construction happening, straight down toward the Canal and scaring the figurative crap right out of me. The first time I drove a car 100 plus miles an hour was behind the wheel of my ’55 Plymouth flying down Route 28 on the way back from a Wareham-Falmouth high school football game. My friend and Patreon Patron Butchie Davidson and I spent some of one summer in the late 70’s or early 80’s high and giggling a few nights on the rolling sand of Falmouth’s Old Silver Beach.
Then there were the two years ‘learning’ at Cape Cod Community College when it was still a couple of brick buildings and a National Guard armory on Main Street Hyannis, renting different cottages in West Yarmouth each year, and of course numerous times crashing and couch surfing at my older sister Sandy’s houses in Yarmouthport and South Yarmouth. The staying with my younger sister Nancy for an extended period in Barnstable during one of my quitting periods at Salem State College, hauling along a number of my hippy friends in the process. In ’07 loafing for a summer with Sandy and her family again, then taking a job as Housing Director for the Aids Support Group of Cape Cod in Provincetown for a year, at that tail’s end accepting the hospitality of my friends Andy and Jamie in Brewster and again West Yarmouth. The heavenly ambiance of late afternoon’s on the Rail Trail. Etc., Etc., Etc.
Suffice it to say I have at least some Cape Cod chromosome stuff imprinted within my DNA. There are so many other stories. All of which, I’m pretty sure, influenced me significantly when writing and gathering poems for “Automatic”, conceiving a section specifically for poems I created with the sole intention of honoring in my particular way the wondrous place Cape Cod is. And, switching hats, as an artist I have done my best to present the Cape as it had spoken to me, one day or another, one decade or another. Included here are my efforts to translate a sunny Chatham afternoon,
a North Truro sunset, and Provincetown on a winter’s day. Pre-abstraction.
These 15 poems make up “Summer Daze, Deserted Winter”: ‘Someday’; ‘When I Was a Goose’; ‘Head of the Meadow’; ‘Those Gateway Piers’; ‘At a Truro Beach’; ‘A License Plate Day’; ‘6A Daffodil Morning’; ‘Chatham High’; ‘Rubied Truro Trees’; ‘On a Cape Cod Trail’; ‘Tell Me about Falmouth; ‘Jack Kennedy’s Beach’; ‘Ptown’; ‘Deserted Winter’; and ‘West Dennis Birding’. I could have written more, the words, the images feeling their way through the keyboard. Someday I will.
Those who follow this Blog know I get up very early in the morning and complete rituals eventually finding me in a pinkish recliner with a couple of cups of coffee, reading, looking, and thinking. You also know I was the victim of a scam recently – abetted mightily by major stupidity on my part – that cleaned out nearly all my savings. You don’t know that just the other morning, in said recliner with said coffee, it came upon me to create a new series of Cape Cod paintings via my poems – paint the words – and a few beyond that, and how I was going to do that was – is – to get myself back to Cape Cod in the fall, this fall of 2019, best in late September/early October, and tool around the Cape in a rented car with camera and sketch pads, visiting everyone of the places about where I waxed poetically, including my hometown which shares in the poems, and for sure do couch surfing where and when I’m welcome, and – practically speaking – considering the plane tickets and car rental and gas and minimal daily expenses (I don’t eat much any more) and maybe the occasional motel, I am going to need help to make this happen. It won’t happen without help. I’ll need a lot of help.
“I’m all in.
Chatham does that.
Spy golden berries among
The ivy-green brush below,
Never-ending waves that slow,
Our internal racing machines
Those moments when we stop
To really stop.
From “Chatham High”