Room City by Nicola Fucigna


In “Room City,” I tried to recreate the experience of drawing a one-point perspective by hand. When you get to a certain point within a perspective, you must make a choice between an exterior or interior space. Are you, for example, depicting a city or a room? This poem shirks that choice and instead opts for both while examining the speaker’s/architect’s ulterior motives. Why this urge to create a new space? Why is the space more convincing if it shows its human traces? A quote from Dutch architect Aldo van Eyck also informs this poem: “a house must be like a small city if it’s to be a real house, a city like a large house if it’s to be a real city.”

So much of life is subtraction, but here, deep within

the layers of trace, we add a point of view to a boundary,

a vanishing point, off-center, and, using our ruler,

two crisp diagonals, radiating toward and away—now

the slow march of feet, secret grid that climbs and scales

the insides and outsides of walls, multiplies and divides

the sky’s chandelier, the floor’s pavers—throw me

a rug and a car, a couch and a tree, a window, the quiet

that walks through a crowded street, and I’ll lead you

to my favorite cafe in the professor’s house where he,

running out of wood, installed different colored doors

on the ceiling—enter, patterns of shade, enter,

sudden erasures of light—more trace—careful, not too perfect,

for perfection has no feeling—remember a slight tremble

to the line is testament to the hand’s breath—desire.

Nicola Fucigna is an Editor-in-Chief for Construction Literary Magazine. She edits and contributes to a column on the poetics of space. Her articles include “Poetry and Architecture,” “Lessons for Architects in Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities,” and “Arrival: The Architecture of Future Past.” She has an MFA in poetry from the University of Arizona and an M.Arch from the University of Oregon. She works for Rowell Brokaw Architects in Eugene, Oregon.

Discover more work by Nicola Fucigna.
Were you moved by The Art of Nicola Fucigna? Why not leave a tip? Your contribution will be paid 100% to the author. You can also choose to give a gift to this quarter's charitable organization. It's simple, and it means so much.