Tuesday 1.12.10

Little Epic in the A.M.

I cast off at 6:30am. Persistent rain. Just out of the marina, I intercepted a crew team and chase boat. I rowed a few strokes, neck in neck, with the team. We said hello and laughed. There were 8 of them. They took me in 4 strokes. Crippled by a hood, I twisted to see a monstrous object to port, a tug pushing a 50 meter barge. Thankfully, I was profiling the western shore and was astride the danger. I had with me a hood, a headlamp, a cow-neck sweater, rubber boots worn at the toes and a pair of Grundens. I needed a wool cap, a clip-on light, a round-necked sweater, in tact rubber boots and a pair of Grunden’s. I am getting more and more waterproof, but I'm still leaking in places. I follow the forecast these days. 48 hours of rain is predicted with steady winds. Can’t say as I saw the sunrise.

Early Meeting

Consistently, I am the first person to the meeting. What does this say about architects? They're busy people. After a very nice introduction suggesting me, the poet, as an NBBJ resource, I read a brief poem by William Stafford called Ultimate Problems. I thought it especially appropriate to the process and level of detailing of the meeting, but when I was through, all of the faces in the room looked at me, waiting, unmoving. Was that the end? What was the meaning of this? Would there be an explanation? I did my best to elucidate and explain why I’d chosen it, but huh? This alerts me to the need to carefully weigh the time of day against the abstractions of the poems I am choosing. Unlike the previous day, I did not come with extra copies, so the room was left wanting perhaps. New rule: always bring copies.


Today, I sat in on a meeting and saw a charette go up. Last week, I was introduced to the term and taken in to see the end result of a charette, large-size, graph index cards, marked with words and phrases, in red, blue, green, orange and black, neatly organized in columns and pinned to the walls. It’s basically a design exercise, visual brainstorming, used to develop solutions to design problems. I sat in the post-charette clime, writing a response.

a model ear

down in the model department
there’s a renegade craftsman
grafting ears on the buildings
in which direction
do you suppose this one’s turned
towards the river
or away crosswind
to the earth or sky
once a model’s got the hang
of detecting sound
what do you suppose
it wishes to but cannot
filter in what ways
do you suppose
it changes
must it respond to
all the cries for help it hears
who will graft
as self-protection
a shoulder
for it to turn
what simple living systems
become its own
what weathers lights
prevailing winds
perhaps the one
they trundled out
as i came in
was an old model
i did not see its ear
instead i saw a riddle
how many farmers does it take
to change a light bulb?
you know these days
when a boy &girl marry
instead of raising barns
they topple silos
the world’s a backward place
&the land strewn
with cylinders
windows go round &round
instead of up and down
o that silos should regenerate
but anyway you look
up or out
a tube’s a tube
they help us see
the moon &mars
&carry maps
i’m going up
the ladder cage
to whisper something
in an ear


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