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September 5, 2007


by gl. at 12:34 pm

last sunday the portland society for calligraphy was asked to write numbers on the participants of the first portland triathlon, which meant we had to be there at dark o'clock. many triathletes said they were really grateful to have beautiful numbers to wear for the next few days: the number they wear is like a badge of honor, but usually they get something scrawled with a sharpie. even the athletes who were wearing full-length body suits wanted numbers!

[smiling in the dark: click to see the other pix from this event]

and even more impressive is that lorinda moholt wrote a poem afterwards, while the rest of us had gone back to bed or were drowning in coffee!

Triathlete Numbers

(more fun than vellum)

5:30 am, dark, no coffee
(do they ever eat donuts),
tall, short, thin, almost-thin
hairy and smooth, they stop
for us to write numbers on
strong, tense bodies.

544, 837, 20l, 683, 219;
on thigh below the shorts line,
then upper arm, always the left
side, age on calf. Calm and
cheerful or focused and silent,
they leave our stations with
right sides anonymous.

20-something, 40-plus, 68,
calligraphers in the still
dark morning tell each
competitor "I only write
winning numbers." Some
say thanks, then walk to
the cold Willamette.

as alesia says, vellum "is old-school calligraphy material: goat-, sheep - or calf-skin to write on. AKA unoccupied skin, unlike what we did this morning!"

posted by gl. | September 5, 2007 12:34 PM | categories: calligraphy, exhibits & events, writing