Archives for posts with tag: architecture

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Towpath
“I’ve got a mule; her name is Sal, fifteen miles on the Erie Canal”
                                                                      –Thomas S. Allen, 1906
by Julie A. Dickson

Along the water’s edge, the canal, the locks
cutting a swathe through towns and farms,
water glistening in the sun, I sing beneath my breath
a song about Sal, walking the towpath, pulling barges
along the Erie Canal to the next lock, water rising or falling
to allow the barge passage, weighed down with cargo.

Sal had a job, walking the towpath, perhaps fifteen miles
as the song describes, with a man leading her, long rope
tethered to a heavy loaded vessel, her burden to bear.
Did Sal mind her position in life? Did she live long?
Did Sal yearn for pastures and freedom to run and graze,
instead of spending her days on the towpath?

The canal is visible from many roads along New York State,
locks appear as bridges to nowhere, I often gazed at them
from the back seat of my father’s car, singing about Sal.
The towpath of our lives is a tether to responsibility, focused
as Sal was, on the task in front of us, not on the beauty of the canal
alongside, water reflecting old factories, birds feeding on its banks.

The song, made famous by Pete Seeger and others, taught children
about early life on the canal but we didn’t know its meaning,
plodding along, making a living, fulfilling a purpose in a small niche,
Sal led barges loaded down with goods to the next town, her mind
on walking, but thinking perhaps of the hay waiting in her stall.
Tethered to tasks, we don’t see the canal, eyes only on the towpath.

PAINTING: “Erie Canal” by John Henry Hopkins (1825) via William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan.

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NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I am a lakes girl, a New York State girl, having been raised around Lake Ontario and Lake Erie; water is in my blood, and I would drive the length of the state just to view the canal and farmland. The bridges to nowhere were a mystery to me throughout my childhood.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Julie A. Dickson is a New Hampshire poet whose work addresses nature, current events, animal welfare, elephants in captivity. Her poetry has appeared in various journals, including Ekphrastic Review, Poetry Quarterly, Blue Heron Review, The Avocet and The Harvard Press. She is a member of the Poetry Society of New Hampshire, and has coordinated workshops as well as 100 Thousand Poets for Change. Her full-length works of poetry and Young Adult fiction can be found on Amazon.

PHOTO: The author along a stretch of the Erie Canal.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: When completed in 1825, the Erie Canal, which spans 363 miles, was the second longest canal in the world (after the Grand Canal in China) and greatly enhanced the development and economy of New York, New York City, and the United States. (Source: Wikipedia.)

IMAGE: “Current route of Erie Canal,” map by Rosemary Wardley. (Credits on this page.)

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Liberty Quarantined
–virtual tour, May 2020
by Marjorie Maddox

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PHOTO: “Statue of Liberty,” Liberty Island, New York Harbor, New York City, NY by Jeff Burak on Unsplash.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Because I’ve only seen the Statue of Liberty from the outside, this story at CBS News inspired “Liberty Quarantined.”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Winner of the 2019 Foley Poetry Prize and Professor of English and Creative Writing at Lock Haven University, Marjorie Maddox has published 11 collections of poetry—including Transplant, Transport, Transubstantiation (Yellowglen Prize); True, False, None of the Above (Illumination Book Award Medalist)Local News from Someplace ElsePerpendicular As I (Sandstone Book Award)—the short story collection What She Was Saying (Fomite); four children’s and YA books—including  Inside Out: Poems on Writing and Reading Poems with Insider Exercises and A Crossing of Zebras: Animal Packs in PoetryI’m Feeling Blue, Too!Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania (co-editor); Presence (assistant editor); and 600+ stories, essays, and poems in journals and anthologies. Her book Begin with a Question is forthcoming from Paraclete Press in Spring 2021. For more about her work, visit marjoriemaddox.com.

EDITOR’S NOTE:  The Statue of Liberty (Liberty Enlightening the World; French: La Liberté éclairant le monde), a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States, was designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and its metal framework was built by Gustave Eiffel. The statue was dedicated on October 28, 1886. (Source: Wikipedia.)

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Photogenic at any Age
by Rosemary Marshall Staples

Stars shine, lights glow,
cameras flash.
Daily photo shoots.
Her beauty remains unfading.
No model can pose as well.
She is timeless,
mysterious and stunning.
Elegant and natural
she captures us.
We can’t keep our eyes off her.
She leaves us all
intoxicated and intrigued.
We have no choice but to return
time and again for another look.
More famous than a painting,
a century old, yet new every day.
Poised on a pedestal of rock.
Nubble Lighthouse is calling
to waves, to wanderers, to shutterbugs,
to look, gaze, breathe, rest and return.

PHOTO: “Cape Neddick Nubble Lighthouse” by Joel Bailey,
Hidden Fox Photography (2017).

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Rosemary Marshall Staples is a poet and songwriter. Her work has appeared in Spotlight magazine, Poet’s Touchstone, and Piscataqua Poems. Featured at Maine venues with her poetry and music, she is a member of The Poetry Society of New Hampshire and The Writers in the Round at Star Island. Her poem “Photogenic at any Age” is about Nubble Lighthouse in York, Maine. The poem appears on the placemat at Fox’s Lobster House located at Sohier Park, adjacent to the parking lot overlooking Nubble Lighthouse. Since childhood, she has visited this landmark, which holds many memories of family and friends.

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Untitled
by Geosi Gyasi

Among all the things / I wanted to be, / to be an architect / was top of the list. A few years ago, / when after completing Senior High School, / the devil that mourned my Failure in my dreams / or / perhaps, / the Angel that showed me the great light / the way I should go / nonetheless / left me with a choice. / But how often do I tend to look back? / Back in time as a teenager / when blood spilled out of my eyes / like the tears of the moon / Disappointed: I could not become / like Adjaye / whose beautiful glories are displayed in Oslo, with the design of the Nobel Peace Centre / in London with the Whitechapel Idea Store / or even with the incredible Moscow School of Management (Skolkovo). / In the nights / very often / the dream never dies, / as I sketch my life / into a complex mix of shapes / and lines: my hips bending slightly / and my arms outstretched in a perfect straight line / like a roof sheltering over the rest of my body. / On a drawing board / on a paper, / I draw perfect lines into a hallway / square shapes into rooms / plus a kitchen / plus a WC, / a huge rectangular shape into a hall / a trapezium into a porch / a circle into a pool / and call it my dream house. / Still, I have this dream also / to build with paper (s) / and / pen (s). / So experimental / Ever so possible / just like this piece of paper / on which / I write this poem //

PHOTO: Skolkovo Moscow School of Management designed by David Adjaye.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Geosi Gyasi is a book blogger, reader, writer, and interviewer. His work has appeared or forthcoming in Visual Verse, Verse-Virtual, Piker Press, Misty Review, Silver Birch Press, Linden Avenue, Expound, Tuck Magazine, Galway Review, and elsewhere. He is the author of the forthcoming book Geosi Interviews Fifty Writers Worldwide (2016) from Lamar University Press Books in Texas, U.S. He is the winner of the 2015 Ake/Air France Prize for Prose. He blogs at geosireads.wordpress.com.

radiator-building
HIGHRISE
by Victoria McGrath

I’m standing on the fifth floor balcony of my life and
you’d think that, from here, the view would knock your socks
off. I thought I’d see spectaculars: the Thames, Times Square,
the Sydney Opera House. At least the Eiffel Tower’s frilly

underpants. But the canopy hangs at just about my elevation,
dubious and loose, and not that easy to see through. I thought
there’d be some sense of accomplishment living at this height,
a particular felicity. But it pains me to say that all I really feel

is a little dizzy. Below, in the shadows, I can almost recognise
fragments of the sweepings that I’ve lost from the ramparts
over the years. Phone numbers, passwords, keys. Everything
to do with calculus, and some critical bits of the 12 times table.

Names. So many forgotten names. And purpose. Not-quite-born
babies. My father’s face. It’s terrible to hover over history
like this. It threatens to remove me. I find it hard to focus on
people anymore and I’m surprised when I realise this comes as

a relief. I once liked them better, liked their privacies, their
collective contradictions. These days I admit I can’t work them
out. They imitate each other. Their user-names congregate on
the lower storeys, where they fumble through their judgements

like a bum rummaging in a bin for crumbs, before desperately
trying to beat the Joneses up the back stairs. To be honest,
it’s all getting to be a bit of a slog now. The stairs are steep,
and perilous with slippery memories. I’d really like to settle in

to some comfortable armchair for a while, high-backed and
made of leather, indulgently polished by other backsides
that like to read and ruminate. But the joints get restless
and I can’t help wondering what might await me when

I emerge onto the roof at last. With my luck, I’ll stumble up
that final step only to be confronted with a cold metal slammer,
firmly bolted and embellished with the declaration:

          FIRE DOOR – PLEASE KEEP CLOSED
 
Right now my framework feels ramshackle and remote, almost
empty, except for the faint drone of lonely poets, the gamy glow
of boasts and blundering, and the simple hum of an accountant
down the hall, who’s hard at work depreciating the high life,

busy totting up the cost of pots and black kettles.

IMAGE: “The Radiator Building” by Georgia O’Keeffe (1927).

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Victoria McGrath is an emerging poet who lives in country New South Wales, Australia, and is a graduate of the Australian National University. She has won a number of poetry awards and was shortlisted in 2013 for the prestigious Newcastle Poetry Prize. She has been published in journals and anthologies in Australia and the U.S. and has performed in a range of events, including twice as featured poet at the Bundanoon Winterfest. A publisher has expressed interest in her first, not quite finished, manuscript.

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“It seemed like a matter of minutes when we began rolling in the foothills before Oakland and suddenly reached a height and saw stretched out ahead of us the fabulous white city of San Francisco on her eleven mystic hills with the blue Pacific and its advancing wall of potato-patch fog beyond, and smoke and goldenness in the late afternoon of time.” JACK KEROUAC, On the Road

Photo: Sunset Magazine, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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Renowned diarist Anais Nin — the muse of Henry Miller and many others — lived in Silverlake (Los Angeles) from the early 1960s until her death in 1977 at age 73. Her beautiful home, located at 2335 Hidalgo, was designed by Eric Lloyd Wright (Frank’s grandson), the half-brother of Rupert Pole, Nin’s then-husband. Nin led a complicated personal life that included bicoastal husbands (Hugh Guiler in New York and Rupert Pole in California). She eventually had her marriage to Pole annulled, but continued to live with him in the gorgeous house he had built just for her.

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From REFLECTIONS by Henry Miller (Capra Press, 1981): With Anais I felt safe, secure. She delighted in keeping things running smoothly so I could write. She was really a true guardian angel, supportive and enthusiastic about my writing at a time when I needed it most. She was generous too. Kept me going with little gifts — pocket money, cigarettes, food, and so on. She sang my praises to the world long before I’d become regarded as a writer. In fact, it was Anais who paid for the first printing of Tropic of Cancer. For these reasons I feel utterly grateful to her. It’s rare to find a friend, a confidante, a colleague, a helpmate, and a lover, all in the same person. 

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“It seemed like a matter of minutes when we began rolling in the foothills before Oakland and suddenly reached a height and saw stretched out ahead of us the fabulous white city of San Francisco on her eleven mystic hills with the blue Pacific and its advancing wall of potato-patch fog beyond, and smoke and goldenness in the late afternoon of time.” JACK KEROUAC, On the Road

Photo: Sunset MagazineALL RIGHTS RESERVED
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May 27, 2012 marked the 75th anniversary of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. Renowned the world over as a masterpiece of art and engineering, the Golden Gate ushers 120,000 cars to their destinations each day.

In a 1987 newspaper column, journalist Herb Caen described the Golden Gate this way: “The mystical structure, with its perfect amalgam of delicacy and power, exerts an uncanny effect. Its efficiency cannot conceal the artistry. There is heart there, and soul. It is an object to be contemplated for hours.” 

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Anais Nin lived in Silverlake (Los Angeles) from the early 1960s until her death in 1977 at age 73. The beautiful home, located at 2335 Hidalgo, was designed by Eric Lloyd Wright (Frank’s grandson), who was the half-brother of Rupert Pole, Nin’s then-husband. Nin led a complicated personal life that included bicoastal husbands (Hugh Guiler in New York and Rupert Pole in California). She eventually had her marriage to Pole annulled, but continued to live with him in the gorgeous house he had built just for her.

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During my childhood summers, I’d spend time with my aunt and uncle in St. Louis. My aunt liked to take long walks, and we often journeyed from her home in south St. Louis on foot, down Route 66 to a shopping center called Maplewood. Along the way, we passed the Coral Court Motel, which even as a child struck me as amazing. I have since learned that the buildings (the motel was made up of individual glazed brick cabins) were examples of art deco and streamline moderne architecture.

The Coral Court Motel operated from 1942-1993, and was razed in 1995 for a housing development — despite many attempts for designation as a historic landmark. All that remains is a website dedicated to preserving memories of the place. It boasts: “For mystery, intrigue, and sheer tawdriness, you can’t beat the Coral Court.”

Shellee Graham has written a fascinating book about the motel called Tales from the Coral Court: Photos and Stories from a Lost Route 66 Landmark. Find the book here. While I don’t own the book, I have borrowed it from the library a few times and have enjoyed it immensely — cultural history, architecture, geography, social studies, and soap opera all in one photo-filled book.