Bureau Junction, 1993

Photo by Roman.

It’s possible that you’ve noticed that many of the images I’ve been posting lately have not exactly been hot off the camera. Here are two more.

Back in 2018, I posted the image of an old postcard, maybe from the end of the 1930s, of the old Rock Island railroad’s Peoria Rocket pulling into the small Illinois town of Bureau Junction. Since I also have family connections with the town, I also posted a few photos from my nostalgia trip to the village from 1993. Here are two more from that trip.

I commented that the village was a small town version of Detroit. The photo above is a good illustration of the abandoned landscape typical of such places. Not everyone is doing poorly, however. Note the Mustang convertible.

What is going on with this “Childrens Memorial Park” below, I don’t rightly know and I would rather not speculate or share what I think I know. Though one thing I do know is that when I was very young, there were houses there instead of a park.

Photo by Roman.

Early in the Morning

The courtyard is mottled with pools of light, for dontcha know, it’s early in the morning, 5 by the clock this autumn day, and the elves and fairies are stirring though they are never entirely asleep. Always and ever is the roar of the Universal Spell, sometimes piano by the clock but never silent. Presto! Light appears and magic it must be for it is none other than the light ensorcelled by plants millions upon millions of years ago. It is an evil spell that makes zombie light, undead light, poverty light of but one color, lying light for whatever opportunities it provides, it also takes away with no rhyme or meter.

This is a magical hour for me, seated in my dark dining room with a grandstand view of the courtyard. Parked cars line the street. A mere century ago, prior to World War I, that would have been remarkable: So many cars in the city, there is only room to leave them parked on the street! I do believe the Singularity that some transhumanists fantasize about has done come and gone years ago. Welcome to a strange and beautiful and unwell time.

Clarke’s Third Law: Any sufficiently advanced technology will seem like magic. What do we look like to any of our fellow species of animal? The stories of elves and fairyland are but images of ourselves reflected in the eyes of other species.

The distant horns of the Hunt by the Queen of the Fairies segues into the distant horns of traffic and the thundering hooves of Her steeds segues into the ever present roar of The Machine. And what shall we say of this Hunt? It is a never ending stream of casualties and roadkill without the sometimes redemptive act of feeding. And why? I could tell a story, thousands of stories, but few would make any sense to the creatures with whom we share this planet. They would seem fay.

Wading in a pool of streetlight, someone crosses the street to a parked car. Recognizing its Master, the car opens and, after a moment, it comes alive. It is in a long parking spot and the driver, in reverse, slowly swings the nose out. Out of that spot in two moves, I think with approval: easy peasy. Then instead, the driver repeats the maneuver. Is this an attempt at a U-turn as well? This vehicle must have the turning radius of an oil tanker. A third repeat before escaping to the street establishes that the driver is Fay and I am so glad to not be sharing the road with it.

My espresso is still hot. I take a sip of my cup and a sip of my pipe. The parking spot mysteriously stays empty while the day begins its mumbled conversation with the night. The courtyard is becoming mottled with leftover pools of dark for, dontcha know, it’s early in the morning.

Performed  by Kiefo Nilsson, “it was written by Dallas Bartley, Leo Hickman and Louis Jordan sometime during the mesozoic era. Later, it was performed by Harry Nilsson on the Nilsson Schmilsson album…”

What Rhyme or Reason

is there for a place to park poetry?

Or maybe it’s the daily slog that ambles from home to work, rhythm of sorts with uneven meter and useless rhyme. It must be a kennel for doggerel.

But wait! It promises a quick departure from dreary lines read in flat nasal affect.

Promises, promises. Capitalism always has an exit strategy…


Here’s the latest video from cyriak:

Aside from cyriak’s trade mark surrealism, the informational film short that cyriak used as raw material is what caught my attention. It’s basically a “how to be a pedestrian in the automobile age” educational film, this one done by a Richard Massingham, apparently in the 1940s. I would have dated it earlier as, here in the States at least, the first three decades of the 20th Century were something like open season on pedestrians. The streets, after all, belong to everyone. It’s an attitude that works well enough with horses, but when you add trolleys and autos, it’s something of a disaster. Initially, the laws were directed more at those newfangled contraptions, but if you ever wondered why “jay-walking” became a crime, well…