“Flowers” is a reference to the same time as “The Rains,” when Tina and I were just married and living on Fourth Street in Rochester. I was working in Detroit and she in Southfield, and despite the drive I often reached home before her, particularly during her busy tax season, and started dinner. It describes a moment of anticipation, of patience, a routine boredom that is not unpleasant, just empty, an interstitial space, a crease in time.
Though Dave’s photo comes from another small Michigan town, the reference to the American landscape that it makes is such a strong match to the view we had out of our flat that for a second I wondered how he had gotten into our old place. Here is his caption:
Another shot during my “wandering TC in the rain” day. This was from the top of the parking deck in downtown. It was initially considered for “The Rains” as its scene approximates the first lines of that poem, and it stayed in that position for some time. Roger said it reminded him of the actual place he lived in at the time, and I thought “score one for the empathic photographer.” Later in the project, after having various versions of flowers selected for this poem (far too obvious and perhaps shallow), and on probably my 20th read of the poems, I was struck by the fact that the imagery of the poem was not about the flowers, but had a much more somber feel. I began to think that a photo which echoed this feel would add to the Roger’s juxtaposition of the title versus the image. On one of the days we got together to review, I announced my new found revelation and was greeted with a round of “yeah… we were thinking that, too.” A new image jumped into my head of a street in St. Clair Shores, MI, where a close friend of mine used to live. An image of a late pre-winter evening, with a cold rain, and a hot cup of tea for the ride home through a stick-tree canopy over the suburban street. We didn’t have time for a trip downstate that also required a change of seasons to get it right. This photo comes close to that mental memory, and we decided to do some re-arranging.
I’ll only add that I will score two for the empathic photographer.