Eclipse 1999

I touch the pen of the moon in a solar eclipse. This light will change as love glows through the telescope of a zebras third eye. My heart beats in the mouth of a hippopotamus; outside a merry-go-round is smashed to pieces by a bold one-penny stamp in a frogman’s suit. My jaw aches and I feel the crumbling earth beneath my feet. If I sit down in the chair I may well see the universe revolve around the light bulb. Like a message in a bottle, and who made the bottle, I float across the chlorine clouds in the first radio broadcast from the moon; it hides in the boot of a beetle that hurtles through a mountain at high speed. Is my memory really a memory or is it a green colossus who strikes the bell tower at midnight and pees in the market place where the homeless are assembled. There is a countdown in my mind that scares me because of all the fears of an eclipse turning red in a green sky. I am overweight like a goldfish bowl that has policemen swimming inside it. I dry off the dead cat and laugh a little at the public garden that has rubies hanging from its trees. I dole out my grief to the midges that enjoy the sexual activity that accompanies the tattoo parlours miracle-making. It’s the end of a second and I trip and fall into a crater where I meet Mr Eternity riding the first alluring model from a Parisian catwalk. I walk around with a whole railway sticking out of my belly. The empty coaches are blue inside and midgets play squash with the light bulbs. A telephone was ringing as miles away above the clouds a man in a gorilla suit put the phone down. The postman pulls away my lips from around his letters and thoughtlessly throws them on the ground. The girl from the newspaper shop has lost a lot of blood and her shadow wanders through my apartment without a face, I cannot touch her because of the waterfall dripping down the walls. A rumour was started by an astrologer about how life will change after the millennium; he walks on a red carpet of blood and embers as the night smoothly rolls a rose between its fangs and jumps out of the window. Across the daylight, the little children are coming out to play followed by the noisy sound of a farting elephant from the betting shop that has so many bunches of flowers stacked high inside that no one can get inside.
On the day of the eclipse, I will sit inside the café on a hill in Greenwich Park and as darkness covers the earth, I will watch as darkness covers the land I will watch as the armies of heaven march by.
In the days leading up to the eclipse, there was hatred in people’s eyes. People have no time for each other. This morning another argument between neighbours broke out. True love doesn’t escape either. The summer heat causes friction between couples. I’ve seen this on the streets as well. Now it’s raining. All I’ve thought about this week has been death and rejection. I have been in tears more than once. I have felt troubled by the attitudes of the people around me. It’s pointless to try to explain it, but never the less people are seemingly lacking in simple affection.
Above an empty glass a mirage of dark rippling waters, thoughts about the future become falling rafters. A tidal wave of depression becomes a standing rock beside me, so old it seems a valuable possession; it’s no substitute for the evening light dragging its silken night-gown over my head. A couple perched in high chairs in a tree are examining their feelings in the small round hanging mirrors. Three restless teenage girls are fuming in a dark struggle of giggling argument. What shall I do? My friends have not come. I try to pick up my rock of depression and go but I cannot. I sit like a living film that can see itself in a gloomy cinema. I can vaguely make out the cliffs and overhangs of my face surrounding my eyes, I tap my hand to deafening pop music.
August evening, the night before the eclipse.
The power of the heavens will be physically displayed.
Darkness falling during the day.
A work of precision engineering with great power
A work of precise alignment
Engineered with the immense power of the solar system.
Yet another of the amazing experiences of living on our earth.
Where the elements are so well balanced and so well co-ordinated
Yet so well taken for granted as a result of the theory of evolution.
The darkness seems cold and has a weird edge to it.
Or I have a strange feeling, buoyant yet nervous.
That small distant moon will block out the sunlight.
A great stretch of the earth will be in darkness
Demonstrating how vast and powerful the planets are
Yet we experience them only occasionally in our lifetimes
And assume that life carries on as always.

The Volcanos of New Zealand

Auckland Field (New Zealand: 36.90S, 174.87E).
Auckland Field is a volcanic field with evidence of volcanic activity in the past 2,000 years

Mount Egmont (for John Percival, Second Earl of Egmont ((1711-1770)) (New Zealand: 39.30S, 174.07E).
Mount Egmont (8,261 ft. /2,518 m.) also known as Tananaki, is a stratovolcano that began forming over 70,000 years ago. Radiocarbon dating indicates eruptions from at least 3050 B.C. to 1500, with tree rings dating more recent eruptions in approximately 1655 and 1755.

Kaikone (New Zealand: 35.30S, 173.90E).
Kaikone – Bay of Islands (1,273 ft. / 388m.) is a volcanic field with indication of volcanic activity in the past 2,000 years.

Kaokohe-Bay of Islands (New Zealand: 35.30S, 173.90E)

Maroa (New Zealand: 38.42S, 176.08E).
Maroa (3,793 ft. / 1,156 m.) is a composed of calderas which have likely experienced volcanic activity in the past 2,000 years.

Mayor I. (New Zealand: 37.28S, 176.25E).
Mayor Island (1,165 ft. / 355 m.) is a Holocene shield volcano with no record of eruptions in historic time.

Okaataina (Maori oka, “to prick,” taina, “younger sibling”) (New Zealand: 38.12S, 176.50E).
Okataina (3644 ft. /1,111 m.) includes the Haroharo caldera and the Haroharo and Tarawera rhyolite dome complexes. The earliest recorded eruption occurred in 1886 from fissure vent Tarawera (Maori tara, “peak,” wera, “hot”), when 153 people died, buried by ash. All but six were Maoris. Four lost their lives in a 1903 eruption, and two in that of 1917. Most twentieth-century eruptions come from Echo Crater of Waimangu (Maori wai, “water”, mangu, “black”). The most recent eruption occurred in 1973.

Reporoa (Maori repo, “swamp”, roa, “long”) (New Zealand: 38.42S, 176.33E).
Reporoa (1,942 ft. /592 m.) is a caldera with likely volcanic activity in the past 2,000 years.

Rotorua (Maori roto, “lake”, rua, “second”) (New Zealand: 38.08S, 176.27E).
Roturua (2,484 ft. /1,757 m.) is a Pleistocene caldera with geysers.

Ruapehu (Maori rua, “hole,” “chasm,” pahu, “drum”) (New Zealand: 39.28S, 175.57E).
Ruapehu (9,174 ft. /2,797 m.) is an andesite stratovolcano and is the tallest mountain on North Island. The earliest recorded eruption occurred in 1861, but radiocarbon and ash layer datings indicate four eruptions before this; the first in approximately 7840 B.C. Since then there have been over 50 eruptions recorded, most recently in September of 1995. Although there was no eruption, 151 died in 1953 when the summit crater lake drained following the collapse of an ash barrier retaining it. A mudflow swept away part of Tangiwi Bridge just before the arrival of the Wellington-Auckland express. The locomotive, tender, and five cars plunged into the river.

Rumble I (New Zealand: 35.50S, 178.87E).
Rumble I (-3610 ft. /-1,100 m.) is one of five volcanic centres on White Island. There is evidence of activity in the last 10,000 years, but no record of historic eruptions.

Rumble II (New Zealand: 35.43S, 178.65E).
Rumble II (-2,890 ft. / -880 m.) is one of five volcanic centres on White Island. There is evidence of activity in the last 10,000 years, but no record of historic eruptions.

Rumble III (New Zealand: 35.74S, 178.48E).
Rumble III (460 ft. / -880 m.) is one of five volcanic centres on White Island. It is the most active volcano on the island with recorded eruptions in 1958, 1963, 1970, 1973 and most recently, in 1986.

Rumble IV (New Zealand: 36.22S, 178.05E).
Rumble IV (-1,480 ft. / -450 m.) is one of five volcanic centres on White Island. There is evidence of activity in the past 10,000 years, but no record of historic eruptions. Fumaroles have been detected at Rumble IV.

Rumble V (New Zealand: 36.14S, 178.05E).
Rumble V (-3,610 ft. / -450 m.) is one of five volcanic centres on White Island. There is evidence of activity in the past 10,000 years, but no record of historic eruptions. Fumaroles have been detected at Rumble V.

Taupo (Maori, “cloak”) (New Zealand: 38.82S, 176.00E).
Taupo (2,494 ft. / 760 m.) is a caldera. Radiocarbon datings reveal around 25 eruptions from approximately 9850 B.C. through 180 A.D., with ash layer dating showing a later eruption in A.D. 210. New Zealand was still uninhabited then, so there were no casualties. Although there was no eruption, 63 perished in 1846 when a mudflow destroyed the village of Te Heu Heu, a famous Maori chieftain.

Tongariro (Maori tonga “south wind,” riro “to come away”) (New Zealand: 39.13S, 175.64E).
Tongariro (6,487 ft. /1,978 m.) is a compound stratovolcano composed of several volcanic cones. The volcanic centre is largely composed of four andesite massifs: Kakaramea, Pihanga, Tongariro and Ruapehu. The Ngauruhoe (Maori nga, “the,” uru, “descendants,” hoe, “paddle”) is the youngest vent and the most active volcano in New Zealand. The earliest recorded eruption occurred in 1839. There have been nearly 70 eruptions since then, most recently in 1977.

Whale I. (New Zealand: 37.52S, 177.18E).
Whale Island (1,142 ft. / 348 m.) is a Pleistocene fumarole complex volcano with no record of eruptions in recent time.

White I. (New Zealand: 37.52S, 177.18E)
White Island (1,053 ft. / 321 m.) is the summit of two overlapping stratovolcanoes. The subject of Maori legends, the earliest recorded eruption occurred in 1826. There have been over 35 eruptions since then, making it one of New Zealand’s most active volcanoes. In 1914 an avalanche of debris killed 11 sulfur workers, although no actual eruption occurred then. The most recent eruption took place in June of 1995.

From the book: The Volcano Registry by Harris M. Lentz III