Field Museum 7.9.19

The Field Museum invited Poems While You Wait to write poems for their donor night. We had the privilege of sitting underneath the taxidermy elephants with our typewriters.

Look up and see the windows change color between the tusks

Look up and see the windows change color between the tusks

In the 12 years that I have been writing public typewriter poetry I’ve had a whole range of experiences and emotions regarding my creative output in these settings. Some days I feel like each poem is trash: I can’t connect to the emotion of the request or I can’t appreciate the exercise because the topic feels uninspired. Some days I feel like I’m getting my lines in for the day.

This day at the Field Museum I felt as if I was emptying myself into a glass, taking form. I don’t think they’re all stellar, but I’m really satisfied with those I included below.

I wrote 10 poems. Eric and I did a NBA fantasy draft (modern era) starting five. I surprisingly found myself picking Karl Malone on my team of 5. Picking Karl Malone for your all time top 5 is like picking cereal for breakfast when you have a whole buffet in front of you.

Sometimes people get poems about Florida without them really knowing that’s what they’re getting. I had heard of some algal blooms in the Midwest that more likely inspired this topic, but given that Florida has such a long history of this funny business I thought it best to go here. Rick Scott is an idiot.

Sometimes people get poems about Florida without them really knowing that’s what they’re getting. I had heard of some algal blooms in the Midwest that more likely inspired this topic, but given that Florida has such a long history of this funny business I thought it best to go here. Rick Scott is an idiot.

Inspired by the ongoing archaeological wars happening in China. I can always feel a connection to writing about bones.

Inspired by the ongoing archaeological wars happening in China. I can always feel a connection to writing about bones.

This requester saw me wearing a White Sox hat and they specifically requested that I write a poem of praise about the Cubs. So I went in.

This requester saw me wearing a White Sox hat and they specifically requested that I write a poem of praise about the Cubs. So I went in.

Everybody in Poems While You Wait has topics that they’re ideal for. I typically get a lot of the sports poems, for instance. I also receive a lot of poem topics around general nerd culture: comics, videogames, and in this case, anime. This was for a young woman, and I’m mostly archiving it here because I don’t want to forget how happy she was when she read it.

Everybody in Poems While You Wait has topics that they’re ideal for. I typically get a lot of the sports poems, for instance. I also receive a lot of poem topics around general nerd culture: comics, videogames, and in this case, anime. This was for a young woman, and I’m mostly archiving it here because I don’t want to forget how happy she was when she read it.

I always like to try at least one prose poem per PWYW session. This is based on a true story, and if I had more time and real estate on the page to work with, I could explore this idea a lot more, maybe channel some Transtromer.

I always like to try at least one prose poem per PWYW session. This is based on a true story, and if I had more time and real estate on the page to work with, I could explore this idea a lot more, maybe channel some Transtromer.

Channeling my Merwin vibes. This might be the most realized poem I wrote of the day, but not the most interesting. If something is realized but not interesting, is it even done?

Channeling my Merwin vibes. This might be the most realized poem I wrote of the day, but not the most interesting. If something is realized but not interesting, is it even done?

Green terrace to my left while writing.

Green terrace to my left while writing.

Maximo the Titanosaur at my 2 o’clock

Maximo the Titanosaur at my 2 o’clock

Randolph Street Market 5.26.18

One of my favorite topics to receive: Dealer's Choice.  It was a particularly beautiful spring morning, and I was reading Louise Gluck's The Wild Iris. Holy. Shit. Those. Poems. Always been a Matins man m'self.

One of my favorite topics to receive: Dealer's Choice.  It was a particularly beautiful spring morning, and I was reading Louise Gluck's The Wild Iris. Holy. Shit. Those. Poems. Always been a Matins man m'self.

Another great title because it gave me an immediate rhetorical posture and form for the poem. This poem has since been revised to be itself a bit more. Turns out the title was best for the first draft but not for moving forward as it was somewhat limiting.

Another great title because it gave me an immediate rhetorical posture and form for the poem. This poem has since been revised to be itself a bit more. Turns out the title was best for the first draft but not for moving forward as it was somewhat limiting.

My first poem is usually always my most uninhibited - this was the first poem of the day. I kinda ran out of space at the end, and was generally struggling with my machine all session.

My first poem is usually always my most uninhibited - this was the first poem of the day. I kinda ran out of space at the end, and was generally struggling with my machine all session.

Poems While You Wait was at the Randolph Street Market, writing poems and ringing in the official start of the outside market.  Antiques, gumbo, furniture, furs, marmalades and reclaimed wood.  The typewriters fit in. 

I wore an aloha shirt and went to a barbecue later.

EPITHALAMIUM

What if we all could ascend

and be the love we wish to have?

 

What if we decided in this moment it’s possible

in this forever community sitting on rented chairs?

 

If I can be the man you all hold in your hearts—

lovely as the levity inside my bride’s eyes—

 

maybe any feat is possible?

If I can be more than a man and impossibly depersonify,

 

recast myself as this embodied moment

to be bouyant inside the eyes of a hundred loved ones—

 

we walk among earth flailing to anchor in passion’s treasured moment.

These eternal seconds whistle with the songs of our descendants—

 

waiting for us to gather in their small arms

this one-thoughted love will bring us more eyes to levitate within

 

We revel in the triumph

of the impossibility of forging a community,

 

the ridiculous business of renting chairs!

If our love could ascend

 

and be the constant wish to our ancestors that toiled to provide, if, only if!

We sit amidst four trees feeling the greatness of our families

 

forever boys and girls inside our bodies

chittering in the handles of our August garments winding up to celebrate

 

if I can be the man you hold in your hearts

I will take you inside of mine

 

my bride’s eyes levitate with our lives before us—

I can’t look away.


 

8.5.2017