As the Writer Writes #3 – Vanishing Point

This is part of my series of musings about writing where I consider a word or concept. This the kind of thing I think about during my writing process.

I once heard a poem read that had the line, “Vanishing Point.”  I don’t remember the poet’s name and I failed to buy her book that included the poem.  It was something about a railroad track by an abandoned silo in an Iowa summer and someone, or a lover faded into the memory of a cloud.

I’ve tried to write that poem and failed.  I regret not pulling a twenty dollar bill out of my pocket and asking for the poet’s autograph.  I regret I can’t find those words I heard - that echo of lament, guilt and relief.

Some memories remain in a ghostly cloud and refuse to be called to clarity.

Vanishing point.  
That place in painting where the lines of perspective meet and disappear.
Stand on straight rails, look into the distance and see the lines merge and fade.
Watch the airplane fly overhead,
listen for the sound to fade,
and watch for empty sky.

I’ve tried writing that poem that just pulls at my heart as I recall the puzzle that was my mother. The times she’d do anything for me.
The times her anger drove me from her.
The times I’ve stood on her grave and looked to the cloud covered hills.
Her hills,
her mountain, where her first boy friend taught her to dive,
where she took me on a hike
where she drove me as we traveled roads
looking for …
something, anything,
but I can hear now is, “vanishing point.”

Vanishing point - a strange film I saw in a rundown theater a life time ago 
while I was avoiding going home.
The hero, chased by police, crashes into two bulldozers blocking the road,
vanishing into smoke and fire,
while we leave our seats looking for the restroom
and the bite of a cold, clear night 
with star light from millions of years ago.

Vanishing point - that point in a poetry workshop where my peers again 
tell me that repetition of the line takes away from the message I’m trying to tell.

But that’s the point.
I have no point,
no story, no brave meaning, just a feeling,
just me standing in a parking lot overlooking San Francisco bay,
staring at that spot where the boat took me by the Golden Gate,
where I said a few prayers,
and committed my father’s ashes to the sea.

Vanishing point.

The wikipedia page begins with a scientific definition and devolves into mathematics 
that I once understood.
That I once cared about.
But that geometry teacher is long gone.
The who laughed when he realized that the seedling
a student left on his desk was
actually a marijuana plant.
The man who, when asked if he had a French Curve
replied by pointing at his belly asking, “Does this look like a French Curve?”
If I could just remember his name.


The point I’ve been trying to make is that I can’t find the poem.
It’s slipped from my mind.
It refuses to emerge from my finger tips.
It struggles in my brain.
It just remains a feeling
in the wind as I look
at a distant cloud.

About Andrew Reynolds

Born in California Did the school thing studying electronics, computers, release engineering and literary criticism. I worked in the high tech world doing software release engineering and am now retired. Then I got prostate cancer. Now I am a blogger and work in my wood shop doing scroll saw work and marquetry.
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18 Responses to As the Writer Writes #3 – Vanishing Point

  1. This was really interesting, Andrew, and poignant when I read about your father’s ashes and the S.F. bay.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. That really resonated with me as, these days, I see the sand going through my hour glass a little too fast to the Vanishing Point. Thank you for sharing your art, Andrew!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This sounds like the start to a book, Andrew. Very interesting.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Well timed–April is National Poetry Month

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Your poem illustrated a new dimension to the definition of what a ‘vanishing point’ could be. (To me, anyway.) As an artist, I first thought of the literal definition. But by reading your poem, you opened up my thoughts to abstract symbolism that I initially did not consider. I don’t read much poetry, but I enjoyed it very much. Well done.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Milena Alien says:

    It just remains a feeling…

    Liked by 2 people

  7. SusanR says:

    “Vanishing point” instantly took me to the high school art class where I learned about perspective. But then you expanded it into things I’d never thought of as vanishing points — yet, that’s exactly what they were. Good stuff here.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. lifelessons says:

    Well done, Andrew… but now I have to look up the term “French Curve.” That said, a very poignant poem and I think you’ve captured the assignment well. So you live in the Bay Area. Did you ever go to the Napa Poetry Conference?

    Liked by 3 people

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