Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicholaas Tulp: Amsterdam, 1632

by Linda Bierds


High winter. All canals
clogged with an icy marrow. And the flax—
just a blue wash in the mind of
the painter who puffs up the tower stairs.
It is the time for festival—Aris Kindt
is hanged. And soon

up through these same stairs, up
to the slope-seated deal and chesnut
Theatrum Anatomicum, the surgeons will come:
Mathys and Hartman, Frans, Adriaan,
three Jacobs, then the bleaders and barbers,
the wheelwrights, needle-makes, goldsmiths,
the potters and sculptors, two
thin-chested harehounds. A lesson!
A dissection! All the reverent, mercantile faces
peering off through the scaffolds

that are now just empty,
just a deal and chestnut funnel tapered down
to a corpse:
----------------Aris Kindt. Quiver-maker.
One necklace of rope-lace curled under his ears—
while over his body, the shadow of a painter’s hat
circles, re-circles, like a moth at a candle.

So this is fresh death, its small, individual teeth.

Rembrandt walks past the breechcloth, then the forearm
soon to split to a stalk that would be grotesque
but for its radiance: rhubarb tendons
on a backdrop of winter. He swallows,
feels the small dimplings of lunch pork

drop away. And here will be Tulp,
his tweezers and white ruff. And here,
perhaps Hartman, perhaps the shadow of
a violet sleeve closing over the death-face.
It is commissioned: eight faces
Forever immortal, and one—slightly waxen—
Locked in mortality! He smiles.
How perfect the ears, and the pale eyelids

drawn up from the sockets
like the innerlids of pheasants. Just outside a window,
the day has climbed down to the amber color
of this candlelit room. Rembrandt turns,
crosses out the sponges and vessels.
There is the sputter of wagon wheels through a fresh ice,
and in all the storefronts
torches hang waiting for a pageant—

scarlet blossoms for a new spring.

His room has turned cold with the slow evening.
Far off in a corner
is a canvas clogged with the glue-skin of rabbits—a wash
of burnt umber, and the whites
built up, layer by layer.
Now a fire, the odor of beets.
And here, where the whites buckle, will be Tulp,
perhaps Mathys, their stunned
contemplation of death. He touches a spoon,

then a curve of plump bread. All across his shoulders
and into his hairline winds a little chill,
thin and infinite, like a thread-path
through the stars:
------------------------there will be umber
and madder root, yellow ochre, bone-black,
the scorch of sulfur, from
the oils of walnut and linseed—all things of the earth—
that forearm, that perfect ear.

+++

This is Bierd's first historical persona poem. It was inspired by a visit to the Seattle Art Museum. While there, one of the tour guides started discussing the pigments used in the paint and Bierds was taken by the natural.

The Wikipedia article on the painting is interesting.

+++

The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicholaas Tulp: Amsterdam, 1632
by Rembrandt van Rijn

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Jared Leising Has A New Poem Up!


Here at In Posse Review.

Jared was my first creative writing instructor and got me started on all this poetry stuff. For the most part I still stick to his views on semiotics and poetic practices. The man is incredible. Every word I have heard of his I love. I was so happy to see him in A Slice of Cherry Pie and I know Ivy has mentioned him a couple of times on her blog. Go read some stuff by Jared. It's the shit.

Prism

by Louise Glück
(just a few sections from the middle)


4.
When you fall in love, my sister said,
it’s like being struck by lightning.

She was speaking hopefully,
to draw the attention of the lightning.

I reminded her that she was repeating exactly
our mother’s formula, which she and I

had discussed in childhood, because we both felt
that what we were looking at in adults

were the effects not of lightning
but of the electric chair.

5.
Riddle:
Why was my mother happy?

Answer:
She married my father.

6.
“You girls,” my mother said, “should marry
someone like your father.”

That was one remark. Another was,
“There is no one like your father.”

7.
From the pierced clouds, steady lines of silver.

Unlikely
yellow of the witch hazel, veins
of mercury that were the paths of the rivers—

Then the rain again, erasing
footprints in the damp earth.

And implied path, like
a map without a crossroads.

8.
The implication was, it was necessary to abandon
childhood. The word “marry” was a signal.
You could also treat it as aesthetic advice;
the voice of the child was tiresome,
it had no lower register.
The word was a code, mysterious, like the Rosetta stone.
It was also a roadsign, a warning.
You could take a few things with you like a dowry.
You could take the part of you that thought.
“Marry” meant you should keep that part quiet.

...

11.
Fabulous things, stars.

When I was a child, I suffered from insomnia.
Summer nights, my parents permitted me to sit by the lake;
I took the dog for company.

Did I say “suffered”? That was my parents’ way of explaining
tastes that seemed to them
inexplicable: better “suffered” than “preferred to live with the dog.”

Darkness. Silence that annulled mortality.
The tethered boats rising and falling.
When the moon was full, I could sometimes read the girls’ names
painted to the sides of the boats:
Ruth Ann, Sweet Izzy, Peggy My Darling—

They were going nowhere, those girls.
There was nothing to be learned from them.

I spread my jacket on the damp sand,
the dog curled up beside me.
My parents couldn’t see the life in my head;
when I wrote it down, they fixed the spelling.

Sounds of the lake. The soothing, inhuman
sounds of water lapping the dock, the dog scuffling somewhere
in the weeds—

+++

Averno is incredible. Do I think the Pulitzer was robbed? No. Trethewey deserved that. But it is interesting to note that no poet who has become US Poet Laureate has ever won a Pulitzer after the term except Mark Strand, who did not have a Pulitzer before serving as Laureate. I think this is good -- the Pulitzer committee should not shower great authors in Pulitzer after Pulitzer. I like that they try to expose new and regional voices to a greater audience. That might just be me though.

Averno is Glück’s best book in years. Stunningly powerful and experimental for her. She plays with form -- ending section eleven with a dash like Brenda Hillman is fond to do -- and she plays with putting herself increasingly into the poems. I love this book. Go buy it. Or borrow it from me.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Elegance

by Linda Bierds


Not Archimedes, naked and tufted, still wet from his bath,
screaming “Eureka” through the streets of Syracuse,
but the insight that propelled him, that sudded proof,
that buoyant, blushed epiphany. Elegance
they call it, the long-boned mathematicians,

when facts align like alloys on a balance scale.

For the slender Archimedes, the scale tipped
eleven stones. Yet once within the tub’s cool grip
several stones departed, skipped suddenly away,
soundlessly, invisibly, as the soul’s clear micro-ounce

is said to skip across death’s placid water.

Then, as he sank, the weight he seemed to lose emerged:
The bathtub’s water overflowed in perfect shares of
Archimedes. And so, from principles of buoyancy:

Elegence. And a running man.

Someone draped him in a linen sheet,
then watched him disappear
within a stone, linen-tinted passageway—a melded shape

across the stairs, the rubbled walls, where lantern smoke
cast its rubbled soot. Twenty centuries would pass

before a taper maker, weighted

with years of weightless ash, would blend
the sootless, smokeless candle, and cleanse the walls
where Archimedes walked. His secret

lay with feasting—a feed for bees

so balanced in its elements of sharp and sweet,
of oil and air, that the buoyant, tufted bodies
churned out from their chambered furnaces a kind
of waxy catalyst—a flawless stitch from mass to light.

Honey. Lentils. Two yellow wines. Two mackerel skins.

Elegant, that formula, that sudden click of harmony
when facts aligned, and matter, from the bee or from
the bath, lost not itself but simply its perimeter.
Elegant, that sudden shift beyond the eye, that soundless
click: clear stone across some greater clarity.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

It Has Begun

The oldest motorsports race in the world has begun again. For one week the Isle of Mann TT will celebrate its 100th anniversary. This is the only motorcycle race I watch. Good luck and safety to all the riders.

Happy Birthday DL

I love this picture of her:


I love this picture of hers:

Friday, May 25, 2007

Announcing

The First Annual Bucer's Open-to-Close Herf-Off

When: Saturday, June 2nd.
Where: The smoke room.
Why: Because mouth cancer just doesn't come quick enough.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Happy Birthday RW

I listen to "Die Walküre" at least once a month. Especially the first act. Brilliant.

My Road Is Open Now

Jason Hamilton was the shooter. He was on trial last month for parole violations. At 10, Hamilton was seen in a bar drinking. At 11:30 he plugs 125+ bullets into the Latah County Courthouse and Sheriff's Station. After retreating into the church on Sunday morning, he shot 60-80 more bullets, until 1 AM. He and Paul Bauer were found dead at 6 AM.

Paul Bauer died with the phone receiver in hand, talking to 911.

Hamilton's wife Crystal was found dead of a single gunshot wound in the head. Police believe Hamilton killed her before attacking the station. Crystal worked at the courthouse.

Pete Husmann is the civilian who was shot. He took three bullets: back, thigh, and neck. When he heard the original burst of gunfire he grabbed his pistol and ran outside to see if he could help. The first shot knocked him on the ground, the second and third shot hit him while he was down but he managed to crawl away. He is still in Gritman Medical Center, in stable condition.

Brannon Jordan was shot while pulling Lee Newbill out of the line of fire. It is unclear if Officer Newbill was still alive at that time or not. Jordan remains in critical condition.

Bill Shields is another officer declared wounded. He was the officer who sprinted from the MPD with Lee Newbill. Ricocheting fragments caught him.

+++

My roads are open now, which means yesterday I was woken by two large news trucks parking in my parking lot. Which means there are two out there right now. They are very loud. They should be leaving soon though. America should get bored with us soon.

+++

A timeline of events here.

Monday, May 21, 2007

My Road Is Still Closed Off 2

Moscow is quiet. I don't think it's just because the roads around me are still closed. Yesterday work was slow. Most people know one of the four people shot, or the gunman himself. This is a small town. Rumors are everywhere though: people believe the man killed his wife, or tried to, before attacking the courthouse and sheriff station. Nobody knows for sure what sparked this.

He used an SKS automatic. The over seventy-five 7.62x39mm M43 cartridges that punched through the walls, doors, and windows of the courthouse were heard throughout the entire town. That's how small a community we are. Yesterday, walking down the closed off streets to rent some movies, no officer was without a cup of coffee. For once, no people protested in Moscow. Everybody was friendly. Most people were staying close to family and friends.

It is eerie around here. It feels like a dream. The press are everywhere, even parking in my parking lot. We walked by a camera filming for ABC last night on the way back from the video store. We walked by an NBC crew. We walked by two local stations. The two blocks immediately north of me are still taped off. The investigation continues night and day.

+++

Casualties:

Moscow Police Department Officer Lee Newbill:
Deceased.
At 11:31PM the dispatcher put out a call to the MPD, advising them of the attack. Newbill and his partner sprinted up the hill. The gunman saw Newbill and shot him multiple times. After Newbill fell he kept shooting into the body.

Paul Bauer:
Deceased.
He was the church curator and lived at the First Presbyterian Church. The sixty year old gentleman was found dead in a separate room from the gunman when three SWAT teams went into the building at 6AM.

The Gunman:
Deceased.
Found dead in the First Presbyterian Church around 6AM. Motive(s) unknown.

Latah County Sheriff’s Deputy Brannon Jordan:
Remains in Serious Condition at Gritman Medical Center after taking multiple gunshot wounds. Nobody knows if he was in the building when it was attacked or not.

Unknown Civilian:
Lives across the street just west of the station and south of the High School. Came out to see if he could help. Took a single gunshot, underwent surgery, and is now in good condition.

+++

Some pictures taken just after the early morning raid.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

My Road Is Still Closed Off

NY Times article here.

At 11:30 PM a gunman attacked the Latah Country Courthouse and Sheriff's center. He fired into the building multiple times and shot three people who came out to see what was going on. Then he fled into the First Presbyterian Church and was found dead at 6:00 AM. The church caretaker was also found dead at that time.

+++

My girlfriend and I were watching It's All Gone Pete Tong at M.'s place until 11:15. We drove to my place to turn off some lights, then drove to her place to sleep. It was 11:26 when I left my place. When we pulled up to her place we could hear the shots. They continued until about 12:30, as far as I could tell. They sounded at first like fireworks, then I thought they were shots but I didn't trust myself. Then I had a ton of messages from Seattle family and friends on my phone this morning.

The First Presbyterian Church tower has line of site into my bed and I always leave the windows open.

One other thing, I heard a louder blast. I originally thought of a grenade, but it was definitely not the assault rifle the shooter was using.

If any of the Latah County Sheriffs, the Moscow Police Department, or the WSU Campus Police come across this, thank you. Thank you very much.

I think this map shows how happy I was to have gotten out of there when I did:
46°43'49.33"N
116°59'46.51"W
Elevation 2638ft
Eye Altitude 3874ft

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Charcoal Zoom

Sunday, May 13, 2007

How To Have The Best Day Of Your Life

1. Drive. We took a 1972 Mach 1 up to Post Falls in the Palouse sun, listening to Bob Dylan all the way.

2. Have somebody buy you dinner. A friend's dad but us both dinner to -

3. Celebrate a friend's graduation. A. is a damn fine poet and fiction writer who has recently tried writing accuracy and managed to get some truth into it too. Luckily she got accepted into the EWU MFA program so we can still hang out.

4. Blow $30 at your favorite cigar shop. Picked up the brand new H. Upmann, a Padron, a Sancho Panza, and a Punch Grand Puro.

5. Smoke cigars on the drive home. Smoking cigars in the Mach 1 at 105 is a highlight of my life so far.

6. Go to the smoke room for a second/third cigar. I finished C.'s Sancho in the car then ashed my favorite cigar in the world, the Opus X Perfecion X, in the smoke room.

7. Go to bed. A luxury after the last three weeks. I slept ten solid hours after reading what I wanted to read, the first chapter of Mahfouz's Three Novels of Ancient Egypt.

Happy Mother's Day Rebecca

Ron Jelaco: "Burt, how could someone like Heidegger exist?"

Hubert Dreyfus: "He was open."

+++

"While some poets make nice, compact poems that answer all the questions they raise, Loudon is open. She embraces ambiguity as a step from the unknown to the known. Ambiguity implies that a knowledge is possible, but really all knowledge is ambiguous because it leads to more questions. Architecture and poetry and philosophy and every other field combine here. On the forefront of each are creatures who thrive off of creating ambiguity from the unknown. Earhart flew into the unknown. Rebecca embraces that unknown in Navigate while also embracing the unknown of poetic experimentation."

-quote from my term paper

+++

Thank you for feeding this. I now cannot escape, but nor do I want to. I am diving farther and farther and farther, lost and loving it. I will always remember where I was the day Hunter S. Thompson died. That is the day I knew this writing thing was for me. Thank you.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Antoni Gaudí's Rail Troubles Continue

Antoni Gaudí, Spain's greatest architect ever was run over by a tram on 7 June 1926. Now, his unfinished masterpiece, Sagrada Familia, faces a slow decay from a high-speed train tunnel that would pass one and a half meters away from its foundation.

The cathedral, the heaviest building in Barcelona and the most visited site in Spain, would not be able to endure the vibrations of the high-speed train.

It is a Unesco World Heritage site.

Read the article here.

Gaudí designed from nature. He is one of my favorite architects.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Happy Birthday SF

"Every advance in the field since him has been a reaction against work or it has supported pieces of his work. It just works. We still can't quite tell why." - Ed Durgan

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Friday, May 04, 2007

Two Great Flash Games

game, game, game, and again game

or

belief systems are small clumsy rolling-type creatures

or

design is not art, all clean and usable and entirely dull and lifeless and overblown and besides I can't draw worth a damn

*you need a flash 8 player for this game/e-poetry/net-art


by Jason Nelson

Awesome. Perfect. Beautiful.

+++

Emogame.

If you haven't played it, or the anti-Bush game (which features you as Jesus Christ, among others, fighting off a three headed Bush beast) you need to do so now. You're so behind. All on the same site.

LET'S GET IT ON!!!!!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Oh Man!

Cheesy 80's rap with the chorus, "It's Architecture!"

Wow.

This is painful.

And so funny.

+++

Stephane Halleux

A quirky-ish art site.

The Building Brief


This just explains some of the symbols and reasons built into my building. Don't worry, I'll get back to poetry soon. I have a lot to say there.

+++

Giza is a southwestern suburb of Cairo. It houses five million people, most of them poor. Giza was once the location of the prime meridian. Now there are four main districts of Giza: the Necropolis, Alharam, Zamalek, and Almohondeseen. The Necropolis is site of Egypt’s two tallest pyramids and brings in a lot of tourist money. Alharam was a popular nightclub locale during British rule but is now rundown. Zamalek is become more and more of a middle-class neighborhood. It is on the edge of Giza closest to Cairo and housing is cheap. But the vast majority of Giza is a low-income, over-populated housing district called Almohandeseen.

My market sits on the Nile shore a block away from the southern border of Giza. To the west is a large low-income housing complex followed by alley after alley of Almohandeseen houses stretching all the way to the Necropolis. Across the Nile is the site of Fostat, the first Arabic capital of Egypt. There is also a shopping strip and Grand Hyatt hotel on the other side of the Nile. South is a freeway before a large farming district.

Parts of the market could have been built by the first man. I wanted that simplicity and historical slant to contrast with my glass roof. The roof is composed of a series of six foot by nine foot, self-contained jalousie windows. These can open to let the heat out, but they also provide rain protection when needed. The shape of the roof is intentionally reminiscent of a pyramid or obelisk, an ancient representation of the benben. In Egyptian Ennead creation mythology, the first man, Atum, rose from the primordial waters on a mound of earth. They called that mound a benben. Pyramidions and obelisks were referred to as benbenets, or like benbens. I wanted to take this ancient concept and represent it with modern techniques and materials because I am fascinated by both history and modern technology.

The large curved wall is half the height of the café roof. It is reminiscent of nilometers – ceremonial and decorated pits that measured the yearly flood height of the Nile until the Aswan High Dam stopped its irregularities. These were very important to farmers and priests alike. The farmers relied on cycles of the Nile’s floodwaters to grow crops. Priests used them in religious ceremonies to ensure the yearly return of those floods.

The arcade features five columns and lintels as well as two hallways. Their shadows symbolize the dark periods of Egypt’s past. Each of the columns or walls is inscribed with the approximate dates they represent. Since Atum rose out of water the end of the arcade closest to the water is the earliest time period. The shadow from the short hallway cutting through the curved wall represents the time before and during the pre- and proto-dynastic periods when Egypt was separated. The first column and lintel symbolize the First Intermediate Period when Egypt fell apart during a long famine. The second symbolizes the Second Intermediate Period when the Hyksos, foreign rulers, took over half of Egypt. The third symbolizes the Third Intermediate Period when Egypt split into three parts from ineffectual and foreign rule. The fourth symbolizes the two periods where Persians ruled Egypt as well as the early parts of the Alexander induced Greco-Roman period. The fifth represents the period leading up to and through the beginning of the Arab conquest. The long hallway represents the Ottoman Empire’s conquest of Egypt as well as its contemporary, weakened state. There is a door at the end of the hallway that implies hope simply by its placement at the end of this line of dark symbols.

By mixing ancient and modern I hope to create a space that all people can encounter non-violently. The café is for the middle class, the tourists, the employed. The open spaces are for farmer’s to conduct business. The swimming hole is for the lower classes. With my building right across the street from project housing, I wanted to create a place where kids can play. The space is meant to mix class and culture, which I hope would foster understanding. The building is surrounded by contrasts: historical and contemporary, poverty and wealth, desert and Nile. These are not new contrasts – they have been present for at least 4500 years. The sites of Memphis and Heliopolis are both within a few miles, as is the site of the slave labor camp for Khufu’s pyramid. The site is more generally located between the genocide in Darfur and the Palestinian conflict. Egypt is a crossroads for this conflicted area. My building is a crossroads for the conflicted district of Giza.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Jelaco 254 Three-Step

Place Precedes Diagram

"The worst moments of your life are those just before you start to work."
-Ron Jelaco

Fragment/s/ed/ation:
Human experience is fragmented. If you stop moving your eye you will go blind. The heart beats. Humanity is moving. It is impossible to circle a building looking at it the entire time - looking at the same level. You circle and glance, fragmenting the understanding of the building. Fortunately the human mind is incredibly adept of piecing those fragments together. It was designed for that.

"Fragmentation played a restorative role in relation to the given reality during cubism and surrealism and now phenomenology. The transformation of negative fragmentation into a vehicle of poetic enhancement and synthesis depends on fragments encountering each other, which reveals through their similarity and analogy a common level of shared reality."
- Dalibor Vesely, from Architectural Digest, n5 2004

"There are threads connecting. The legacy of any good architecture, any good projects, are all in these personal relationships."
- Ken Radtkey, principal of Blackbird Architects

Fragmentation implies both separateness and unity. Dalibor calls the separateness negative and the unified needed. Radtkey sees threads connecting at all levels, macro, personal, and micro. This makes every fragment a crossroads.

+++

Now I Explain How I Got To My Building

1.
"Remember, this is a creative process, one thing always leads to another." - Ron Jelaco

Create fragments. Fragment whatever you want. Use scissors and glue-sticks. Use trace. Use photoshop. Use sketches. Get fragments. You will never have enough.

My first set of fragments was from local churches and it bored me. So the logical next step was to jump to the Almohondeseen, the five million person ghetto in the suburb of Cairo called Giza. I pulled images from temples, funerary sites, nilometers, gathering spaces, and Almohondeseen. I created fragments. This is the one that most influenced my design:


2.
"I just think it would be so fun to figure out what these things look like." - Ron Jelaco

Explore. Map. Imagine. What would a floorplan of that fragment look like. How high is that wall. How do these two relate. Three. Four. Five. Six. Where does this go. Is this part of this building.

I trusted light. I trusted materials. I started seeing patterns. A building emerged. I mapped it out rough. I mapped it out carefully. I mapped it out accurately. There should really be a verb associated with cartography. I like cartograph.

I took a different approach than most to my site. From the fragments my site was flat. Dusty. Open. I wanted it in Almohondeseen. I didn't know the use for the exploded nilometer, the curved wall. It became a swimming hole. I had a site. I just had to find it. Enter: Google Earth.
29°59'54.53"N
31°12'53.53"E

3.
"What does this building look like to you? What does it want to be?" - Ron Jelaco

This hung me up. Space is neutral. Then I realized I had an organization. I had a human logic. What best fit into that specific, latent, human logic.

Here the site saved me. It is a crossroads on so many different levels. Macro. Personal. Micro. Poverty and Wealth. History and Contemporary. Africa and the rest of the world. Darfur and Palestine. Desert and Nile. Farming and downtown Cairo. East and West banks. Project housing and Nile. I wanted my buildings to be a crossroads like this area is. Market for the farmers. Café for the employed. Swimming hole for the children in Almohondeseen and more specifically in the project housing development just across the street. Program.

+++

So that's that. The semester is over for architecture and me. I will not physically design like this again but I believe this is what we do in our heads. I now see. I see a lot now. Now I see more than ever.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Shadows 7


Inside the café. I'll explain how we got here soon. For now, I am finished. If you want me for the next five hours, check the smoke room. I usually have a stress-induced eye twitch at the end of the semester. This time I have two. I seriously need to relax.

The Shadows 6


This one surprised me the most. That is the crown of United Egypt.