Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Glass Half Shattered

Beverage bottles are manufactured on high-speed machines that melt sand and soda and whatnot and blow the shapes, form and cool them, all at a fast enough production clip to supply the thirsty multitude their must-be-in-glass beverages, your high-end imported bottled waters, expensive boozes distilled from the dew drops collected off the potato crop raised in the volcanic soils of the mountainsides of Vesuvius watered with the tears of Venus and fertilized with the rose-scented feces of Zeus Himself, your unguents, your parfumes, your eau de toilettes. These graceful artifacts of mass production technology tumble as the arc through the air when thrown from passing car windows at night by the boys who go hoot, hoot, tumble end over end, whistling slightly in the air and dispersing their remaining fluid loads in droplets which arc themselves out of the spinning ends of the bottles, end over end, until bottle meets cement and shatters, casting shards and raising expanding domes of shattering sound waves that radiate outward as air pressure ripples in the atmospheric pond, and the squarish fragments of non-solid non-liquid sharp-edged dice spray across the pavement rolling across asphalt and bike lane paint showing their chance sides and the boys know deep inside as they reach for the next bottle to throw half a block further along that they've rolled craps again.

A man awakes, hears the shattering, thinks, "they're doing it again," and buries his head in his pillow. He tells himself to go back to sleep but cannot, instead thinking about work items undone and left to be fixed.

not a lament I go just go around

not a rant people will be people and boys break bottles in the streets

sweepers sweepers send in the sweepers

I raise the morning and find the glass half shattered

The glass shattered is not sand. Sand would be full shattered and a true vandal would not stop and would not be satisfied until every bottle and every shard of every bottle was reduced to sand. These were half-assed vandals unwilling to go the full measure of glass shattering, apparently. Leaving these half-shattered shards around, their failure manifest for all to see. They glisten, they shine in sunlight, they glass beyond all sandhood. 

A jar full of these would not resemble a beach. Yet I see in each single chunk as sense abandoned, chaos yielded to, reason and restraint thrown out the window in an arc that tumbles over and over and releases the last remnants of contained liquid as other arcs, hoot, hoot, shatter. 

The line between order and chaos is marked by broken glass on bike lane asphalt.

Neighborhood order they say, hoot hoot, I wish you to be broken, thus.

But we sweep, we ride, we don't listen. The glass half-shattered is recycled, reblown, reformed, refilled with waters, perfumes, boozes, unguents, labelled, stocked on shelves, lined row on row, rank on rank of liquid product.

This post published at 1:11:11 on 1/1/11 during the breaking hour. Take that ye lords of chaos and breakage. My fearful 1-ness symmetry taunts you like miles of bottles on shelves, unshattered.

The man with his head buried in his pillow finally drifts back to fitful sleep. His pillow is mighty, the pull of sleep is infinite, and the man has the solid memory of spinning wheels to lull the din.


  1. Such is one more reason to use a bright headlight in the predawn darkness!

  2. You could enter that second sentence in some of those "so awful it's great" opening line contests.

    Truly a fine descriptive sentence, in the utmost sense, that not only captures the face of the matter but also reveals the soul and true essence of the poetic late night, pre-dawn activities repeated across this great vast land of ours by boys who, by their own ideas of creativity and uniqueness, are identical in all ways as they drive through the black night and perform such acts under cover of heavy darkness.

  3. That first paragraph is really effective. It describes the evening activities here very well.
    So much glass everywhere leaves our main roads sparkling. There are no sweepers and the glass is cleaned up by sticking into tires.
    I ride now only if I feel up to fixing a flat.

  4. Steve A, I wonder if the bright headlight would also help me get better pictures, the broken glass just never glistens in the JPG like it does IRL.

    Kenny, thanks for commenting. Here at OSG Studios, we sometimes employ the awful, including run-ons and mixed metaphors and poorman's free verse, in service of The Good. :)

    Oldfool, thank you sir. And still the sweepers have not come. I feel like some cargo cultists, waiting for the next crates to arrive. Perhaps I should bungie a broom to my rack and sweep it myself. But then, I would be thinking, could I hook an actual sweeper onto the bike somehow...


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