Marin Civic Center

by Catherine Simpson

I had a history teacher in high school

Who said Sometimes I think that Frank

Lloyd Wright went crazy before he made

The Marin Civic Center. How do flying

Saucers fit into the landscape? And then

He’d gesture out the window, where the Marin

Hills arched their shoulders, brown and green

And plain like a stranger just in from out of town,

No explanation as to his purposes.


The Civic Center vaults and bends

Anodized gold walls and blue vaulted ceilings—

Like a city from the past or the future, Babylon

Or a space station. One night I sat against a

Wall and watched the arches glint lastly before

Night and the hills sigh purple, and the Center

Didn’t blend so much as sit with the hills, there

Together for years, a companionship of bigness.


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