Despite the profusion of iconoclasts and smooth-talkers all clamouring loudly to be heard, each with an anecdote on the tip of the tongue and a data-set in hand ripe for exploitation we recall that an architect should not be wholly dependent on his tools, nor should he be enslaved by them. The independent building holds its tongue; it is not democratic. A hundred men are not a man, and none among them exemplifies the crowd.
If we are to attack metaphor now as the great slaver of architects, our architecture must itself be raised upon a linguistic foundation.
Each work included here can be considered an apology in this regard; the penitent offerings of fools, ashamed, for foolishness is in our nature.
Torch-carriers make for the ships. He works a spear ten strides long through the chest of one of them from his position over the beak and then another and a third, making red mud of them in the surf.
Vaunosoi, he cries, fire fire fire!
The long-spear is heavy but the Danaan is strong and twelve Ilians are opened by him at the shoulder and through the belly and one split between the ribs and one through the back of the neck as he stumbles so the spear point passes his lips and he falls in the tide, dead even before the spit can be torn free from behind his jaw and the last thing he knows is the foam of the surf and the bitter shock of teeth clenched on bronze. Overhead the sun is tracking backward across the cloudless sky.
His nose begins to drain once he’s found his feet like a cup turned over and poured out and they speak in tandem like twins, saying
If you stay on the prow, they will see you fall.
And that’s good. But it could be better.
That’s right, that’s right. Under the mainmast
Under the flaxen sail
Let the Ilians fall in a circle around you
Like the horizon
Like the sun
Like a shield
As wide as your spear is long
What a sight
And here you’ll be found
Under the mainmast
Under the mainmast
What a pyre
Twelve more dead in a ring
A sacrifice fit for a king
Or a lover