Most of the people I typed for at last year’s Artisanal LA event have blurred together in memory. Even still, there is one fellow I have no intention of ever forgetting. He came over with a friend. She wandered off to take pictures as he and I began to talk. At first, we did the basic Typewriter Poetry dance. He asked about the project, I answered with my usual bases covered. Soon, something shifted. He sat down on the floor. I halted my work on another person’s poem. We dove into our hitchhiking and traveling stories; afterward, he shared his love of robotics and electronics with me.
Some performances were long. We raged past the show and burrowed furiously into the night. Other performances were lonely and quiet, intimate, with soft conversation and relaxed acceptance of letting the flow be. On the last night, our voices rose and fell in play with one another, harmonizing at their own accord to the perfect pitches, intervals, frequencies.
Captivated by conversation, tapas and wine, attendees were enthralled by the night. In a literary wonderland reflected through timeless glass, everyone bubbled. Princeton Library celebrations were led by live classical music, auctions, vendors, food, dancing, and free poetry. I’m honored Typewriter Poetry played a small role in the enchantment, even if it was for one night (and one night, only).
Here is “The Process.” Here are dreams, here is art, here is expression. Throw that body into the thralls of inspiration. Yes, it has led you down an unproductive path. Yes, it will abandon you to a space without answers. But tonight you are shaman and you shake like the stars. Your mind is my mind’s final frontier.
The first question people usually ask me after we’ve been talking for a while is “where are you from?”
“I’m from LA,” I always say, though now that I’m in Louisiana I wonder if I should be abbreviating it as “L.A.” in my head.
Whether it’s my clothing, demeanor, accent, or the fact that I use “dude” more than the average person should, everyone always nods their head in immediate understanding when I declare I am from California.
This man criticized my new friend for not paying me with money for a poem. I asked, “who are you to judge another person’s investment?” He repeated that line over and over again, as if singing a song. “Who are you?” he demanded in a deep melodic voice, emphasis changing each time. “Who are you?” He scared my friend away, then unkindly demanded I create a poem about my question.