Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
The actual post card on which Percy Bysshe Shelley based his immortal poem, Ozymandias.
Picked this one up in Cairo. The message on the other side is two lines long:"Had a good voyage. Am just beginning to realize I am in the way." It might as well be signed "yours, the British Empire."
Grand Tetons Chapel
This is the closest thing I have to a picture of god, at the moment. I once spent a night by myself in a log cabin in Grand Teton State Park and in the morning I found a mother moose and her calf grazing out front. That was certainly a holy moment, but this is a much more evocative image. (Thanks S. Lish)
From my Dad's collection: this thing used to be in Atlantic City. It's here on my web site as a placeholder for a card I lost or, rather, left behind. That one was a black and white shot of an elephant with a silk scarf draped over it. The previous occupant of a cubicle I once sat in had left it there, so I did the same when I moved on. I sometimes think that if I had kept it everything that followed would have come out differently.
World's Worst Confectionary
I made my family drive much too far into Southern Indiana because this place sounded so perfect in the guidebooks. They served only melted American cheese on white bread, prepared on a George Foreman. The dead flies on the cement wedding cake in the window should have tipped us off, or maybe the festoons of fully occupied No-pest Strips that led to the kitchen. Looks great in the picture, though, doesn't it?
Hibbing High School
Bob Dylan's High School.
Sagamore Hill Bathroom
Teddy Roosevelt's Bathtub.
It's a movie theatre on Catalina Island. The building it's in looks like a wedding cake. When I was there, all that was playing was "Scrooged" with Bill Murray, which I'd already seen twice but how could I pass up the opportunity to watch a movie in this place?
Until I was nine, my family went to Wellfleet in the summer. Although I have nothing but happy memories, this image produces a chthonic jerk of recognition: that kid is hopping mad!
Ryoanji Temple Garden
Sadly, I have never been here, but until at least 1981 there was a replica at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens where I spent many hours. For my money, it was one of New York City's greatest outdoor attractions. You had to go through a little wooden turnstile and take off your shoes at the entrance and they gave you paper slippers to put on over your socks.
I once went on vacation to Cedar Key, Florida by myself. I was the only guest in the hotel and it was too cold to sit outdoors and read so I drove south almost 100 miles to Tarpon Springs. I thought I remembered my grandmother mentioning it, once. The only notable thing there was the sponge-fishing museum (SPONGEORAMA, in faux-greek letters), which was full of things like this photograph: sad, beautiful, painfully sincere.
I love that there is a shrine in the basement of a church in Chimayo, New Mexico (not on a major road, not particularly near Santa Fe or Taos) that is, essentially, a dirt hole. What I love even more is that there is a post card of the thing.
World Famous Hairpin Turn
I have four different versions of this view -- different times of day, styles of coloration, eras, etc. I saw them in a flea market and was certain that I knew the spot. Sure enough, it's a stretch of road is not far from where I went to summer camp. Anyway, it's “world famous,” it says so on the back of the card.
If I could write a poem, it would look like this. Note the attached bag of actual salt.
What's wrong with this picture? After intense scrutiny, all I can say is there's something weird about the light. I guess my favorite part is that he's walking away. Go deer go.
Gibson's was the second-best donut shop in Oberlin, Ohio, where I went to college. I bought this post card on a drive across country in 1999, during which I learned that you can now buy booze in Oberlin and that the best donut shop went out of business. But look at the way the lamps glow. You can have this image of the place on a snowy night for under a dollar and it beats the hell out of any mug, sweatshirt, ring, or bumper sticker, if you ask me.