Thursday, September 3, 2009
I was a few minutes early to meet my friend for coffee the other morning, so after parking the car across from the bus station on High Street, I took the bag of tomatoes and copy of Barbaric Yawp I was going to give him and ambled toward the corner at Court Street. Part way there I met a slight, frizzy-haired man in sunglasses, who, by the tilt of his head and dance-like movements, was easy to identify as one of our beloved street-crazies. We looked at each other, and just as we were about to pass, he stopped and said, “The reason I want to be a cobbler is because I want to know why the bottoms of tennis shoes wear out faster than the tops.” “Me, too,” I replied, and my answer must have thrilled him, because his enthusiastic “thank you!” turned heads at the bus station. And it must also have satisfied him, because he walked off without saying another word.
I know it satisfied me. The sound of his voice, the brick building beside us, the dusty awnings over the sidewalk, the bright eye of the blackbird looking up at me from the gutter, and the steady warmth of the sun are the kinds of sustenance I seek — song, poem, image, story, rhythm, and vibration, passing into memory as we speak.
In the Forum: what happens to people who sit around trying to think up new poetic forms.