The Poems I Wrote This Weekend

This weekend, I had three opportunities to offer pay-what-you-want poetry to people passing by. On Friday night, I joined my friend Martha in Bradenton’s Village of the Arts for their monthly Art Walk. I only had one woman ask me for a poem, but I think it was enough. 

She asked for a poem about “change”. I took my typewriter to the front porch of The Art House where the light was better and came up with this one.

CHANGE

In this world in which we live

we know of only one constant

about this singularity

we need not be despondent

for this participant in our moments

is nothing all that strange

the essence of our being

is nothing less than change

whether it’s creation or destruction

as life grows or as it withers

change infuses everything

for life is but a river

as every moment passes

every moment differs

and when we follow its flow

through our lives we become drifters

and just as every inch of river’s flow

is filled with different drops

every moment changes

with the ticking of our clocks

so the question we must ask ourselves

as from our dreams we wake

with each new moment that comes to us

what kind of change will we make?

When I read the poem to her, she gave me $10 for it, and her friend gave me a dollar for the joy of listening to my reading it. She also said she would take my card to the owner of Cottonmouth Cafe, where I really want my band to play. So look for Steve McAlphabet and the Wandering Soul Band to be playing there soon.

On Saturday, I went to the Siesta Key Seafood and Music Festival. I set up my typewriter and sign on one of the concrete recliners and soon had a woman ask me for a poem. When I asked what it should be about, she said, “Surprise me.” So I wrote this.

SURPRISE ME

There are many people in the world

who want to know what’s coming

regardless of the race they’re in

they need to know the running

so they can know the outcome

and make their choices wisely

but I’d rather be more open

so whatever comes, surprise me

I can fully understand

why people would want to know answers

they need to know who the winners are

so they can wave their banners

but I would rather not know what comes

or know what lays in store

I think that opening to the mystery of life

allows me to live much more

I want to be wild and free

while others want to be secure

I want to bask in the ecstasy of doubt

while other people want to be sure

about the bliss that comes with ignorance

you need not remind me

for all life has to offer me

I beg of you, surprise me

Soon after, about the time my bladder started to inform me that I might want to get up for a while, a county employee informed me that I wasn’t really supposed to be soliciting money within the confines of the festival without having paid my dues. So I packed up my typewriter, waited in line for a porta potty, and then enjoyed a performance by Twinkle and Rock Soul Radio. Of course, I already had a piece of paper in the typewriter, so I had to write a poem about Twinkle.

TWINKLE SHINES

From the Sunshine State of Florida

arose a glimmer of a girl

with a voice pierced the silence

and was sure to change the world

for those who’ve written classics

she’s added depth and harmony

and every time she sings

each song becomes a symphony

she lets her spirit shine

with her band, Rock Soul Radio

and even when she’s not on stage

it’s apparent she’s a lady who

cannot help expressing love

and letting her heart light glow

and every time you hear her voice

your heart can’t help but grow

for decades, she has rocked the state

and she has many who applaud her

rock’n’roll goddess that she is

she’s Sarasota’s favorite daughter

though some struggle to express themselves

she makes it look so simple

of all the stars in the southern sky

no one shines like Twinkle

After the band finished another raucous number, I walked to the stage just as she sang, “Oh say…”, and then I held up the poem. She said “Oh, hi” and took it from me. She asked, “Who wrote this?”, and I said, “I did, but you can read it later.” Then she put it on the drum riser and sang an acapella  version of “The Star Spangled Banner” to promote solidarity. I hope she eventually read the poem.

On Sunday, I went to Payne Park for Veg Fest, where a bunch of vegans had set up a circle of tents to share food, information, and recipes on how to eat without stopping hearts. I walked around the sun drenched circle, considering what I wanted to eat when I wrote enough poetry, saw a few friends, and found a place on the sidewalk outside the perimeter in the shade. My first patron had gotten a poem from me before and wanted one for her year-and-a-half old daughter named Mina.

THROUGH MINA’S EYES

There was a time I thought

life had given me all she would

I never could imagine

that it would be this good

but you came into my life

and offered me new vision

filling my life with love

appears to be your mission

although the world around me

is filled with discord and dissonance

looking into your eyes

all I see is innocence

thank you for the light you bring

and the way you make my life shine

of all the daughters in the world

I am so glad that you’re mine

you have changed the way I see the world

and you have filled my life with color

of all the things I’ve had the joy to be

the best I’ve ever been is your mother

My next patron didn’t know what you wanted so I asked her a few questions. Eventually, she said she wanted something that would inspire her to move from where she is to where she wanted to be. Of course, I’m paraphrasing.

THE WORLD THAT AWAITS

Today is yet another day

that offers a new world

every moment that has come before

through my memory has swirled

but I am not my memories

I am not my past

and I have many days to come

before I reach my last

so I let go of what’s come before

so I can focus my vision

embracing what today may bring

has become my newest mission

I am grateful for what I can do today

I am grateful for what I can be

most of all, I’m grateful

for the future that I see

I release myself from the moments

that have filled me with any regret

as I embrace what today has to offer

I embrace my own success

Halfway through reading the poem, she said, “Oh, my God, it’s like you know me.” It could just be that my degree in Psychology is finally paying off.

My third patron asked if she could just give me some keywords and let me do my thing. She said, “gardening, honey bees, surfing, and marijuana.” This is what I came up with

GROWING JOY

Throughout the world of nature

joy always abounds

through its sights, scents, and flavors

and through all its precious sounds

I am so glad to see it

in the growing of my garden

and how it opens my heart

as others let their hearts harden

the buzzing of the honey bees

brings the growing of the hive

and the sweetness that comes from it

makes me glad to be alive

when I’m on the coast

and the big waves start to swell

riding nature’s movement

is the bliss in which I dwell

the practice of appreciation

is my new asana

and what I appreciate most of all

is my good friend, marijuana

While it’s a lot of fun to write these immediately and be able to deliver them within 10 minutes or so, I’ve started to offer this service to anybody who wants to reach out on the interwebs. So if you want a poem, let me know. As always, I cannot put a value of scarcity on any of my poems, so you are free to pay what you want.