Thursday, 7 July 2011

Basic Geometry - Friday Flash

Alasdair is playing with his Lego bricks
A grand architect working his dinky fingers
Thinner than the plastic parallelograms he manipulates
He mounts one atop another
Feeling, friction rubbing the bulbous tips
Searching for the hidden holes beneath till they snap home
In timeworn Euclidean geometry
Mortise and tenon, interlocking and binding
The colours are charmingly brightly random
Yellow crests red underscores blue fades into black
All perched on a thin flat base
Manufactured green to suggest the verdant
When where he lives is submersed in grey concrete
He's building upwards now
Modestly ascending for the heavens in small steps
Lips pursed, tongue just extruding with rapt concentration
The master builder with no picture in his head
Virtually pre-lingual he knows words
But cannot yet assemble sentences into the air
He likes the word 'sky', unknowingly fumbling towards its suffix
As he scrapes the plastic bucket of seemingly limitless bricks
Across the floor towards closer reach
The intelligent designer just happened on some more axioms of geometry
The reach of his arm, the length of a cubit
The boxer's tale of the tape
Resolute now, fabricating vertically brick upon brick
One block in width only
A coloured DNA map of his unformed, boundless mind
A Tower of Babel beyond the forfeit of language
He has an innate discomfort of aesthetic asymmetry
When an eight stud block gets binds against studs five and six of its overlooker
He cannot abide the overhang
His jaw set firm as he repairs the lip hanging over the void
Elevating higher, yet higher towards the unfocused notion of heaven
He is amused that it sways
A basic fundamental about foundational and spreading the load
Yet the plastic edifice holds its stability
He ceases his creative hand
Perhaps his pinched fingers ache from the sustained production
He pads backwards on his posterior
To view his erection with perspective
Is he proud? Is he awe-struck?
We cannot yet be sure of his fledgeling emotional range
Now he grasps two longitudinal pieces, twelve spots both
He crosses one over the other and locks them in perpendicularly
His building soars, but now he can fly
He rams the plane into his tower
The high rise collapses beneath the assault
Just like the Jenga game his sister plays
The plane breaks apart at its fulcrum
A lesson in physics, but one beyond his tender ken
He sifts among the rubble
Apparently delighted with something about the outcome
He sets about rebuilding the structure
Assimilating what he has learned about breadth
This time he deliberately courts overhang as he fashions gaps
He has plumped for glassless windows
Holes he has recalled from watching the Jenga unfold
Though his are sightless, giving on only to the interior of his tower
But all in all, this construction is smoother, more practiced
The tower is hoisted up in double quick time
He recasts the plane
Declines to put a tail on it, maybe because he has never been on one
Pincered between his fingers, he flies it in the airspace above the column
He increases the imaginary throttle
And drives it hard into the heart of the tower
The wing-piece is stripped off, but the fuselage stays lodged
In the finally calibrated inbuilt hole
The tower wobbles, but stays standing
Yet the slow fuse of combustion has been lit within him
He skips out the room for some refreshment to slake his thirst
Some geometry, some physics, a love of destruction and a disinterest in aesthetics
Thus is the groundplan of hell laid down in his mind





15 comments:

Linda said...

Quite the epic Jenga story. Er, poem. I love the structure of this, just like a Jenga tower, and the verbage, wonderful as always. Peace...

Sonia Lal said...

An epic poem! LOL Like the rhythm of it!

Michael A Tate said...

I got a real strong sense that the narrator of this isn't a child, but rather an engineer trying to bring himself back to his childhood. Real interesting as an engineer myself...

I always seem come away from your work with a nifty impression.

Helen said...

You are very clever with the use of words, the rhythm holds all the way through this piece.

So this child, boy, man builds towers to see if he can create something stable.

I had mixed images in my mind when reading this, from that of a small child, learning from each fall his tower makes, to the man trying to perfect a skill right down to that last sentence "Thus is the groundplan of hell laid down in his mind" which left me wondering if a terrorist was about to be born.

As always your writing is excellent and thought provoking.

brainhaze said...

Cool poem - and love the structure just like the lego bricks - nice

dijeratic said...

"He cannot abide the overhang"

The need for perfection, even as we experiment, never really exists, does it? Difficult lesson here, but cunningly played out here.

I think of Daedalus building mazes to hold mythic beasts. And we know how THAT turned out.
X

Virginia Moffatt said...

Love it, especially the last line!

Anne Michaud said...

Quite an ode to your son, I love the structure you've adopted for this piece. Epic, its in own right:)

Sulci Collective said...

My son would keelhaul me if he thought this was in any way about him! I'm really interested in what people are reading into this, so different from the idea I had in my head, but I'm delighted

Tim VanSant Writes said...

Hmmm, is this a beautiful homage to imagination and play or a horrific transcript of impending doom?

You are eventually going to tell us what your idea was, right?

foregoreality said...

I found this really intriguing. The structure gave it a momentum that built with the tower... I definitely related it to either an autistic pre-verbal child or toddler, but the ending obviously made me think of 9/11. Well written :D.

Mandy K James said...

Quite brilliant as usual. I would like to know the idea you had behind it. A beautiful design perhaps? The creation of the universe?

JC Rosen said...

Riding headlong into the next line was a virtual compulsion. Well written as always. Your last line just made me sit back and gulp. Thanks, terrific stuff.

Take care,
JC

Icy Sedgwick said...

Right, where's my Lego...?

I love the way you've captured that sense of boundless invention and wonder that comes from playing with what is essentially such a simple toy, but underneath lies the threat of what such invention could truly devise.

Mari said...

This feels pretty much like a kid playing with a lego set. Funny how the way one tells a story is as important as the story itself, no? Perhaps even more important?