Free Poetry on the Metro

Originally Posted: September 10th, 2013
Updated: January 4th, 2020

billimarie on the metro typewriter poetry pink

This past Saturday, I typed free poetry while riding the Metro Gold Line.

It was part of an event put on by Jessica of Poesia Para La Gente. Their mission statement is right up my alley: “an organization that attempts to bring poetry to places and people who would normally not be exposed to the art form.” I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to get together with other poets in such a public way. It was an incredible event to come home to, and I’m glad I had the chance to listen to poetry on the train.

Recognize the sign?

The basic premise of this event was “poetry in motion.” Quite literally! Several of us got together and shared poetry while riding the Gold Line. It’s always fascinating to hear the different ways people choose to recite their poetry and perform spoken word. I personally prefer the quiet intimacy of Typewriter Poetry; though I wrote poems on the spot, I chose not to perform them.

Below are a few photos others were kind enough to share. The instagram photographs are by Ryan, and all digital SLR pictures are by Luke.

There is also an article in the LA Weekly blog.

Jessica, the event organizer, wrote a beautiful post in response to a private thank you I sent her. I continue to be amazed and humbled by such beautiful people–

Here’s the thing, the Typewriter Poet doesn’t need to perform a poem, she doesn’t need to be heard (in the conventional way), nor is she interested in promoting herself. She only wants to type poems for people, for free. Spending time with her on the train made me think that maybe she wants to form a road of communication between symbols and her internal voice that’s already communicating with our collective conscience. And then I realized she’s already been doing that. And isn’t that the nature of poetry? You meet her and realize how calm, collected, peaceful she seems, not exactly your everyday poet.

At the end of this post, you’ll find an edited version of one long poem I typed during the ride (“Metro-type Type”). It’s sort of a document-slash-tribute to the day we spent running around, Metro stop to Metro stop, all under the Los Angeles sun. Completely inspired by fellow poets, Los Angeles, public transit, strangers, words, the birth and death of images, love, life, staring out windows as the world passes by…

You might notice I got some much needed help from the kids toward the poem’s end.

billimarie typewriter poetry pink

The co-authors of “Metro-type Type.”

Without further ado, “Metro-type Type.” (To read a slightly bigger version, click here.)

This one was hard to translate.

"Metro-type Type" by billimarie typewriter poetry


It’s a jump throat magic
varied tones, yes,
face primed

“you cannot film on the platform
unless you have authorization”

you are a performance
trains must ride

the beauty of body
being motion,

(‘the’ is a word misrepresented by the dictionary.)

And, to what? And and.
The this, the that.
All the while, houses
around us.

there is emancipation in these xxx ancient floorboards.

The interpretation of dreams:
dying language, each night
we propaganda nightmares
and make deities of light.

n o  n o  omeeotol
xxx how to push back. claw desperate
l o   L e o   sfia  ometeotifkdit  y nadia

Down in the cold dark
shapes run down
in the cold
dark shapes

a   t i   ni   mo leio.oouuuuuyyT A@  1/4             1/2              p

ak ii uuuuuuuvvmmmmm

Will you play with me at the playground?


sept 7th 2013

14 thoughts on “Free Poetry on the Metro”

    1. My favorite part. Thanks for reading, Yago. It was a pleasure to meet you. You sounded amazing on KPFK just a few moments ago; thank you for sharing your rubber room poems.

  1. Fabulous concept and post – moves along like the Metro with photos and writing and your amazing poem. In Mexico musicians, singers and actors jump on and off buses to perform and collect money…loved everything about this Billimarie…

    1. I love that tidbit, thanks for sharing. Wish I witnessed some of that when I was in Mexico. I didn’t get a chance to take any public transportation while I was there. Next time!

  2. What an amazing concept – typewriter poetry. <3 I'm looking forward to following this fantastic idea from key stroke to page to emotion.

  3. Nice poems there! And I love the idea of free poetry, I think it’s great what you’re doing. I’m also following your blog too. I like writing quite a bit, so hopefully we’ll have a bit to talk about.

    1. Hi Deanie! This comment comes rather late but I hope you’re doing well. Are you still writing? Thanks for stopping by!

  4. what a super idea,Billiemarie, and a great poem..

    Down in the cold dark

    shapes run down

    in the cold

    dark shapes


    clever , very clever!

    groetjes, Francina

  5. My favorite part: “we propaganda nightmares
    and make deities of light.” Great start for a poem…

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