Lawrence Bridges πŸ”ˆ

Form Follows Function

I’m making a patio but a tree with a knot
stands in the way and can’t be removed
due to a city ordinance and my respect for
a beautiful living thing. Its branches are low, so for
what is supposed to be an expansive terrace with ample tables,
couches, and nooks for eating and talking,
we’re caught tripping over limbs and crawling under
boughs to get around on this platform over the water.
I’m for accepting the tree and employing chutes and stairs
that conform to branch-flow, all attached to the tree for stability.
I’ll hang a bunch of lights beyond it to extend the platform
over the ocean so people can turn and look back for photos
of a tree with hanging orchids – great for tourists
and wedding parties - and I’ll engineer wings
or narrow wooden causeways to get servers
back to the kitchen or diners up to the valet station.
We’ll live with this but how much better would it be
to have used the tree wood for railing and stairs
for a simple wide terrace facing the sea? Either way,
if espied from a paddleboard offshore, the terrace will be open,
a stratum like the sea rocks below - but here again,
form follows function because people like looking
at the ocean from the safety of trees,
enveloping branches hiding their past lives
where they pretend to have once lived as fish.

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About the Author

Lawrence Bridges is best known for his work in the film and literary worlds. His poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, and The Tampa Review. He has published three volumes of poetry: Horses on Drums, Flip Days, and Brownwood. As a filmmaker, he created a series of literary documentaries for the National Endowment for the Arts' Big Read initiative, which include profiles of Ray Bradbury, Amy Tan, Tobias Wolff, and Cynthia Ozick. His photographs have appeared in the Las Laguna Art Gallery 2020, Humana Obscura, Wanderlust, the London Photo Festival, and have been displayed in the ENSO Art Gallery, Malibu, California. Find him online at and on Instagram @larrybridges.