When Irma was a child

In 1993, John F. Burns, my favorite journalist ever, wrote an article in the New York Times: British Fly to Bosnian Girl’s Rescue. Here’s a snip:

SARAJEVO, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Aug. 9— After worldwide publicity about her plight, a 5-year-old girl severely wounded by a Serbian artillery shell was evacuated today from Sarajevo by a British military aircraft and flown to Britain, where she was hospitalized in critical condition.

The evacuation was made possible by Prime Minister John Major, who dispatched an executive jet equipped as a hospital plane to Ancona, on the Adriatic coast of Italy. The wounded child, Irma Hadzimuratovic, was flown to Ancona aboard a British military aircraft that shuttles relief supplies to the Bosnian capital.

The article affected me greatly. I wrote this poem that day:

Injured Child Flown to London

Sound of helicopter.

Fleeting adoration rained on her.
Like Jesus, palms were laid under the hoofs of her
donkey and daymares of a simulated crucifixion
froze her gaze to one spot
just below the horizon. She was here to be
buried, not kissed.

But the kissing continued. Like bees
people swept in and out of her face.

This girl and the atom bomb tell us one thing:
That for sure every person now dead has
built up a visible shadow taken from the sun
after years and days of
eating the sun while they stood in a field hovering over a
noontime meal or pausing over an axe near the woods and we
see this shadow
through the naked sockets of memory
placed into the hypothalamus of every
5 year old kid on Earth.

This is what the pygmies told us when they
bowed down to a crypt holding their maternal
grandfather’s elbow bone. This is what Serbia told us when
they swept down on a million straw men.

This is what Irma, tattered child of Bosnia tells us,
flying in grave condition to a London hospital.
Now it has a name and it’s Irma and she is
free of sin and we will kiss her but maybe
like a hurricane she will go away someday
if we close our eyes and put our hands over our head

August 9, 1993

© 1995 Daniel X. O’Neil

God bless us all.

Doing Los Angeles, June 2017

Recently I went to Los Angeles with my youngest son. I have a tradition of going on a trip, just me and them, when each of my kids turn 16. CXO chose Las Vegas in 2015. Caleb choose Los Angeles. So we went.

Once we landed, we went downtown to the Millennium Biltmore Hotel. A regal Place, doing business & absorbed with its own past, rightfully so. They deserve it.

Then we went to Soho House West Hollywood. Beautiful view.

Continue reading “Doing Los Angeles, June 2017”

The Macon I Know

I enjoy business travel.

Each time I leave home, and I have it in my head that I have to make it productive, worthwhile, and fruitful. That means doing my wurk and documenting it all. I especially love to go to a new city– somewhere I haven’t been before. I try to take my good camera on trips like this.

At the end of last month I went to Macon Georgia. It aa glorious, And had everything I liked–architecture, poetry bookstores, good coffee, and natural features of landscape and cultural history.

I stayed at a real Bed & Breakfast, mainly because it was cheaper than the chain hotel. I know it was a Bed & Breakfast  because when I got there they said. “what do you want for breakfast?” and I was like “oh wow  really?” and they were like “this is a bed-and-breakfast”.

As is my custom, I immediately set out for a bookstore that sold poetry. I took pictures along the way. This is a shot of a malformed set of bricks pulling apart from a solid set of bricks. There is a metaphor here.

“Stately” is a good word for a lot of the buildings. The heaviness of the plantation though.

The library was glorious. Going to a public library in a new Place is sort of like going to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting– you basically know the configuration but something is always different.

The Wi-Fi is sponsored by the Knight Foundation. Everywhere I go, there you are.

I like their street sign system— no matter which street sign you’re looking at, you know what corner you’re on.

This building is a part of an architectural restoration drive.

Macon’s Fading Five

The real glory of Macon was nearby, at the Ocmulgee National Monument of the U.S. National Park Service.

Here’s all photos I took there at the monument.

First off, the Visitor’s Center is an Art Moderne masterpiece:

And the mounds are maintained with care and respect.

And here’s the whole set I took of my trip to Georgia.

The Tampa Municipal Office Building and its Adjacent Brick Courtyard are Brutalist Masterpieces

I have always loved Boston City Hall and its brick-colored, multi-layer courtyard. I understand this is a minority opinion. So it goes.

Until today, however, I did not know that Florida sported a rival Brutalist civic structure with an adjacent courtyard made of brick.

I was walking in a light tropical rain through downtown Tampa.

Behold the Tampa Municipal Office Building, rising over the old Salvation Army site.

And towering over an empty but nifty brick plaza at mid-morning.

The fronds and green and waterfalls made for oasis, and the plaza pavers climb the rough surface up.

There was evidence of other, inexpensive modifications— colorful glass bird-type / wall-climb holds to break up the height.

The plaza and its many layers are straight outta Boston.

Except again the tropical plants and intimate lawn furniture makes for a human scale.

The rising, and the harsh indoor lighting.

Again, height is broken and softened with palms.

Smoker passages.

The municipal function of rat baiting sits like art.

A plaque for MIAs / POWs, embossed with bamboo.

Evidence of the Rough Riders, too.

Inexplicable steel art takes its place in front of the brick-paved street, which makes for yet another texture.

Leaves, Concrete, Bird Glass.

God bless America.

Detail of concrete. Artful pocks.

Smooth joints.

Skaters cannot be stopped.

The main corner entrance, with glass rising for stories. Transparency.

Hidden entrances like Frank Lloyd Wright.

Under eaves. Color added as another sop to the heavy mental affect of Brutalism.

No one can stop the tropical gardens.

Or the deliberate passageways.

All hail the Tampa Municipal Office Building and its adjacent brick courtyard, which are Brutalist masterpieces.