Secret Messages

An Almost-Poem, Left Under the Williamson Road Overpass (and also: What I Talk About When I Talk About Poetry): Day Fourteen

This post is part of the Secret Messages Project.  Every day for thirty days, I’ll leave my words in places where they might be found — or might never be found at all.  I hope you’ll join me. 

*

It’s been awhile since I shared anything here that approached what some people call by the name “poetry.”

A word about what we talk about when we talk about poetry:  What I do?  It isn’t that.  

Because I do most of my writing longhand in a journal with narrow pages, I occasionally break lines and force words into a vertical form.  Sometimes, the form is so vertical that what I share here looks like poetry.  But I’m fortunate enough to know a few *real* poets, ones with serious literary gifts, and what they do is a very different animal altogether.  This is why I often call my skinny little creations “almost-poetry.”

I’m a prose writer by nature — always will be.  That said, attempting something a little bit *like* poetry is good for me — it keeps me linguistically limber and challenges me to remember that the way words look on a page can bear just as much weight as which words I’m using.

That’s why, yesterday, I decided to tinker again at this thing I call “almost-poetry.”

I took some of my favorite parchment paper and cut it into narrow strips.  Then I taped all the strips together to make a paper ribbon:

art7

Then I wrote a little almost-poem, one about what I’m trying to accomplish here.

I rolled the ribbon up like a tiny scroll.

I tied the scroll with braided twine.

I tucked it in my pocket, drove downtown, and walked past the art museum to the place where the sidewalk disappears into a tunnel beneath Williamson Road.

There’s a mural there — In It For the Long Run by Scott “Toobz” Noel — spray-painted on the concrete, in moody whorls of galloping horses and windblown color that make me feel I’m galloping, too:

mural2It seemed like a good place leave these words, so I found a little corner where two concrete pavers met, right up against the wall where the wind doesn’t blow.

I left my almost-poem there, for you and for me and for anyone and for no one.  This is what it said:

1.

In so many ways,
I’m just
a baby,
slapping
the paint on
the canvas, and 
babbling,
happy:

Maybe this–
or oh!
maybe this…

2.

I rub the
colors in
with my
fingertips,
until — 
I swear —
my fingerprints
glow.

3.

Let me bless
your eyelids
with the kiss
of my thumbs —

I’m gentle,
even if
I leave
a mark…

two splotches,
green perhaps,
or blue…

or two
yellow sparks…

4.

Oh, my love —
I’m just trying
to teach you

to see in
the dark.

art3

Whether we’re masters or beginners today, let’s all try to see and make as much beauty as we can, even — and especially — in the dark.  ❤

 

 

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2 thoughts on “An Almost-Poem, Left Under the Williamson Road Overpass (and also: What I Talk About When I Talk About Poetry): Day Fourteen

  1. charnellpeters says:

    I love this idea! I may have to start a similar project like this! I’m always enchanted by community and applied art. It seems like such a blessing, especially if it’s a surprise!

    Like

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