Sine of Things to Come
Here is quiet organized perfection
Something new born from what was once
Something that has seen its day, its glory
Is now rising again to great heights.
This waxing and waning is not just for years and years
But also days and nights
What is a hub of chaos by the light of the five day sun
Also stands silent under watchful stars.
Here, the hopeful heart hears her watch
That ticks the time away
Time is the only constant, here
As she waits for the rising of her new day.
Here, in this space is where it begins again
It starts with just one step away from the silence
A movement toward the amplitude
A crescendo from which to jump and fly.
About a week ago I was in the TipTop building in Omaha attending a workshop put on by the Omaha Creative Institute. The workshop was located at the offices of Alley Poyner Macchietto Architecture. The building itself, which is just north of downtown, was built in 1916 and was originally a satellite assembly plant for Ford. It is now home to the architecture firm (who was partially responsible for the re-design), TipTop loft apartments, Barley’s Bar and Grill, and Brandeis Catering. The inside of this building is amazing. We were allowed to wander around the offices a bit and check things out, but I didn’t really stray too far from the conference room we were in.
The session was a creative writing workshop with a focus on lyrical poetry. It was lead by Michael Mlekoday who teaches at Kansas State. I had never attended a workshop before so I had no idea what to expect. We read and discussed several poems, talked about style, perspective, and interpretation. At the end of the workshop we had only a few minutes with which to write something new.
Most of the time I write, it’s because of some event or feeling which inspires me. There are very few times (outside of assignments for school) where I just sat down and started to write about any random thing, and yet there I was sitting across from Michael who just said “go”. A few folks got up and moved to different locations, like the floor, or outside the room we were in, but I just sat there looking around thinking “ok, what do I do now”, and then I looked out the conference room across the hall at the row of desks. So neat and organized and empty and quiet, and I wrote “Here is quiet organized perfection”. In an instant, I had my inspiration. The offices, the building, the renovation that transformed what once was some other great and vibrant place back to being something new and even more glorious.
I tried to capture the notion that everything in life has a cyclical curve to it, a rise and fall and rise again. With the building it is years and years between the apex of each cycle, but even within that, there is the rise and fall of every day. I imagined this building full of people, rushing around during the work week, and then how the entire place falls quiet and still again each night.
And when I stopped there, and felt stuck Michael spoke again “If you get stuck, maybe take a line from one of the poems we read, and use that.” He must have read my mind. I chose a line from Elizabeth Bishop’s poem, Visits to St. Elizabeths: ‘that ticks the time’, and I looked down at my own watch, which I have worn faithfully since it was given to me last year, and I connected the dots between time passing, the rise and fall of things, and my own life.
The rhythm of the ticking clock, a heartbeat of the passing of time, and the feeling of being “here” on the curve and moving along it as it begins its upward swing to where great and wonderful things are possible…
Thanks to the Omaha Creative Institute for organizing the workshop, to the people of the Poetry Pile Up which brought Michael to Omaha for it, and to Michael for leading our group. Thanks also to the folks at Alley Poyner Macchietto Architecture for designing such a beautiful space. If you want to see what I saw when looking through the glass from the conference room, here it is… http://www.alleypoyner.com/projcomm_apma.html