Posts Tagged ‘architecture’

I’m No Frank

Frank Lloyd Wright

and his falling water. Masses

of concrete cantilevered,

and extending outwards

like hands reaching- symbiosis.

But I’m no Frank

and dreams might be

my little fingers clasping

hard and pushing pencils

for somebody else’s utopia.


The hewn boulders of rock

resisting the foundation

on which this grand design sits,

I bear the weight of expectations.

Balancing upon the scales

on which the measure of cement

is mixed in sand and water.

The lapping over of slates into a bond.

The forward thrust of hammer to nails.

The tightening of ties around stirrups.

The alternate laying of the roof decking.


And the network of drain pipes,

cables and ducting, and waterlines

resembling the veins and sinews

of the building’s skeleton. I build

a symbol- the framework of the mind.

The genius envisions an edifice

in his intellectual acrobatics,

justifying to the world the modern-

reality that build themselves on paper.


Summoning the masons to lay

its plaster to newly cured blocks.

The painter to swab the walls

in fresh coats. The decorator

sets the chairs, the beds,

the mirrors and the tables.

The vases and layers of curtains.

The lifeless sculpture pieces

and paintings hanged to the walls.

Fixing rolls of wallpaper  and carpets

over polished granite floors.


The carpenter assembling

cabinet boxes, ledges and shelves.

The windows fitted to the sills.

And the doors hanged on frames.

The location of the chandelier.

Installing wooden slabs on stairs.

The green patinated balustrades.

The landscaper to plant shrubs, and ferns

and vines and trees and patch of grass.

The water fountains and the waterfall

arranged mimicking a natural set-up.


But I ‘m no Frank.

The hours stretched for miles and miles.

The drafting table becoming wet with fog

until  the first  hours of the morning.

I can hear the mad conversations

of the vellum and the graphite saying,

“deadline nears, it’s almost here”.

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Room gravitates with clacking sounds from T-square and triangles repelling each other at drafter’s boards. Blood races with time. Sweat drips left watermarks on vellum as inkblots nervously travels the maze of light pencil strokes. There were smudges of graphite dusting above the immaculateness of the paper that the fruity-smelled eraser had not breezed through. Then, forms of squares and circles began to metamorphose into a perspective with depth and of casting shadows meticulously calculated and shaded. I was peeking over my seatmate’s work and my hands are trembling in fear without knowing where to start.

My drafter’s board draped in salmon-colored grid paper  and vellum lay motionless for some minutes. Pencils started to rattle like little earthquakes at its sides. Then my fingers reach out the Pentel Pen and in desperation, I scribbled these words, “no fear, God is good all the time” on its wooden face. I fixed my eyes to the letters, and it appeared as if they began to switch places, jumping like shrimps out of water.

Dimmed visions ensued. I was blackened out. It was half past one in the afternoon, when somebody cursed the other and summoned him to speed up. I was driven like a nail to my senses cutting short a wasted lull. Then like a lightning, I was in a trance. Having invoked the muse, juggling pens upon pens and pencils upon pencils worth of architectural beauty, there was no chance of changing pace. Everybody is on the rush.

Then the noise grew like mighty cacophony of sounds from the drafter’s weaponry. From the other side of the desk, a poor lad accidentally poured water on the sheets, and in  final attempts of rescue, relentlessly waved a piece of cardboard to create pools of air to dry out the accidental and unfortunate wetness. My focus is waning but in great resolve, I need to be a victor over my own strength and exceed what my expectations can afford me.

Every stroke became a heavy etching on the vellum, emphasizing authority. Sketch lines became crooked, consciously hugging traces of sure, finite  lines. I panted and I am beginning to lose my breath. Two hours still, and time is up.  Sheets upon sheets I am flipping through plans and elevations. Of hit and misses. Of trials and errors. Worried to the hilt, if I could catch the time on its tail.

The bell rang. A flag to the finish line have been raised up.  Signals surrender.

The drafter’s board had witnessed a battleground, where black blood stained its wooden face and created slight ebbs and crest on it. Surprisingly alighted out of the tremendous pressure of the examination room. As if the weight of the world on its shoulder vanished after the bell rang.

That was five years ago. The drafter had become an architect.  And the battleground on that drafter’s board had ended on that once glorious day. Its glory that has waned among the many cobwebs of dust which strapped  its once perilous journey to the examination room.

And the day is coming, that these trembled hands will once again redeem its glory. With words “no fear, God is good all the time” written on its face, all will never be erased from one’s memory.  Surely, it will not fade through this architect’s humble life.

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Today is my self imposed day-off wherein I had a field trip to some of Manila’s top recruitment agencies. Responding to the classified ads, I troop to the every nook and corners finding that elusive opportunity which I suspect is hidden so long from my sight.  I have hoped to see some better employment  options this time which  is way above different from my present job.  I am filled with high expectations of this try-out and dared myself to be a little patient and sober.

And so it happens, a waiting game in this waiting room of the world. Tens of likely applicants lined up and waited to be listed.  Anxious to fill in the slots to have a chance to be interviewed.  Blank stares and far-fetched gaze outside is a common thing.  And I guess, it’s all about vague questions. And some sort of disillusionment.

Light chatter punctuates the eerie silence. But how brave for someone to introduce himself without telling his name, just a little joke to break the ice, isn’t? And from all walks of life, converged in this little God-forsaken place, where nervousness and anticipation mixed in a cauldron of pessimistic emotions.

I will never forget the way pleasantries are exchanged, as if hostility plays softly along the lines.  And the litany of reasons and the rebellious incantations of misery blurts out once in a while. While I sat among them, listening and just nodding in agreement.

I will never forget how the hours seems a lifetime watching each other’s expression.  If I could only translate the many blank faces into stories of desperation, I would count them as many. And here the sad circumstances of "dog eats dog" survival is evident, where one’s strength is pitted against another’s weakness. And who’s who will just be the day’s norm.

It’s a pity to find the finest of people leaving this country, given up their hope and has accepted the bleak conditions  that talent and honesty  does not reciprocate  survival.  I beg to disagree to a fellow saying that the profession should not be used as a means to earn a living, but instead a way to harness the passion of doing for the love of the profession.

But money is a matter too, that you need to throw on the table.  As real as it gets. We all ought to survive where having money is necessary for you to live. And if waiting in this waiting room, painfully calculate the risks, or if it’s worth a try. Then, let it be.

I will not wait for another day for another rotten wood appears along to dampen my spirit. I will not wait until my self-esteem decays and found that the time has been used up and I can’t take it back with me to undo the mistakes I have committed in my lifetime.  I will not wait in this waiting room, just to be another casualty and resign all my strength to this mediocrity. I will brave it through like many of us here in this waiting room, trying to see what’s on the other side. And we’re hoping to find that greener pasture abound in another place, in another time.

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