Posts Tagged ‘Vignettes’


29 September 2009 Leave a comment

The scene across the water is a geometric vision. The cranes are a study in angles. The moving ones inscribe precise arcs, and I am reminded of my old mathematical compass. The heavy steel columns suspended at the ends of them are too heavy to swing, and as they glide slowly through the air, it is easy to believe that they are indeed in suspension.

I also notice something that looks as though it might become the roof of a grandstand. I can envision the smooth curve that will eventually be completed, but, as of now, the cross section of it reveals wafers of I-beams forming a gentle stair that I could almost call uneven; I stop short because the intervals vary precisely, and the word ‘gradient’ is brought to mind.

In the foreground: I would use the word ‘skeletal’ to describe the exposed steel reinforcements and scaffolding, as well as the bare concrete beams and pillars. In the background: The uncompleted towers are more shell-like, and less floodlit. It is easy to frame everything because there are hollow rectangles everywhere.

There are lattices of triangles and struts, lines and ridges of fluorescence, and, most stunningly, clusters of bright white lights. The air around the place glows; the air is suffused. I think it is the lights that make it easy to be confused about the type of construction I am witnessing.

What shook me out of my reverie was something so dissonant that the irony clangs. Across my cafe view, four migrant workers in traffic marshal-type luminous green vests-with-reflective-stripes made their way to the work site dragging a low, flatbed-type cart piled with timber.

When their work is completed and the scaffolds are removed and the structures are complete, we will have an unremarkable piece of commercial architecture that I cannot imagine being filled with anything worth being filled with at all. In the transient meantime, at least, we have animated, machinated geometry and an interesting view.

Categories: Perspective, Writing Tags: ,

Bliss Like This

19 July 2008 3 comments

It’s past 11 p.m., and the rules have been relaxed. The paunchy, slimy-looking expat men are showing up with their would-be lays. (Their nervous self-consciousness is quite damning.) I’m looking at a taxi that’s just arrived, and I’m thinking, ‘Booty call.’ These apartments are more hotel than residence, and the tenants are correspondingly sleazy.

But: I am lounging on a pair of chairs with my feet happily bare in the night air. It is remarkably quiet where I am (especially considering how I’m only about three stops away or so from Orchard), and I have coffee. Bliss like this is hard to find, cigarette smoke and sleaze or no. (They at least try to be discreet.)

Categories: Writing Tags: ,