Poet For Hire

My cousin encountered this amazing human in “New Orleans – French Quarter Royal St June 24” (per camera location notes) and sent me a text joking, “Shawna, I found you a husband.”  The best part of this being that she might be the only one in our family who’d encounter someone like this and immediately think of me or identify what would seem like my “kind.”  Strangely, while easily befriending artists and photographers, I rarely seem to attract other writers.

How brave is this guy.  And not because… is that an ice chest full of beer in the street?

Je me demande s’il parle français.





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“tell me what you want.”  I want to see more people in the world like you.  I want to know more people like you.  I want more people in this culture to appreciate and admire and respect people like you.

I want to see more poets out of the closet, taking poetry beyond the university, in the street or anywhere interacting with the wider world.




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In the Yard of a Stranger

I pull my ankles up to sit cross-legged on a pale yellow cushion in the wrought iron chair with the sea-green tint over grey on the patio.   I know magic because I have been here before.  I have been deep in magic and go there now.  I sit in the warm spring sun and forget about my cup of coffee on the little round green table.   A bee circling below my feet crawls across the cement beneath the chair.  I know it’s there but don’t look.  I sit in the center of the warm cement slabs on the pale yellow cushion in the iron chair with the sea-green tint over grey surrounded by trees and large leafy plants in the yard scattered with white and yellow and pinkish red flowers against the fence.

Time goes away when I close my eyes and listen.  I listen to everything at once.  Not one at a time, all at once taking effort at first.  I listen to the outside, to the many varieties of bird calls, to the dog after a squirrel, to the wind, the traffic, the voices of passerby and neighbors, to a distant siren, to someone saying something inside the house, I listen to this chorus and allow myself to drop into it.  I listen until finally I almost completely stop hearing.  I no longer hear all the different bird calls because now I feel them instead.  Feel them all around me and inside myself, feel them in my being, feel the boundaries of my body melt.  Until one sound begins to stands out.  The sound of one bird’s call vibrating deep within in my system like a drum, this call sounds like a blue light.

I don’t think about my lost friend, don’t think about my lover, don’t think about the tears I cried for an entire year, and the years before, don’t think about writing, about work, about pressure.  I don’t think about them but they are all still here.  I just feel all of them and feel calm with them.  I could stay here much longer in this chair and listen with my whole body.  I let my mind travel somewhere else inside myself.  So far beyond my thoughts and feelings I can no longer move.  My body shuts off, then disappears.  Whatever’s left after, the rest of me absorbs the light and sound and the elements of wind, the pollen.  Whatever’s left feels so in love with this world, all of it.  Whatever’s left accepts everything as is.  Whatever’s left stays forever in this place and doesn’t resist.  The warm spring sun I forget I am sitting in, forget the enjoyment of, swells in the chair I no longer feel.  The warm spring sun that I become.  The warm spring sun.

The sun.




I Know Nobody Here

Today, I’m running away in my own town.  I love days like this.  I can already feel it.

I wake up and I know nobody here.  I don’t think.  Who I will see, what I will do, I don’t know I don’t care and it doesn’t matter.  I have to hurry, I don’t want to wake up too much before I leave because I might start to think.

I throw on the first clothes I see.  Pretty unremarkable outfit, black black and more black.  Color may be flattering, but black is easy.  Color is inside me anyway.  I don’t think, I don’t see.  Slide the hair tie from my hair, unravel the night’s braid.  Don’t put it up, don’t even brush it.  Don’t need makeup.

There isn’t anyone around in the apartment in this moment and the moment spreads joyfully.  This place is empty, the rest of the world is empty.  The world forgets its weather report today.  Anything can happen this morning, in this beginning.  Everything’s undefined, unnamed.

Water.  Don’t wake up, don’t see, don’t think.  Don’t make coffee, get it later.  Just leave, get out, run.  Hurry up.  I throw everything into a bag which isn’t much today, just enough and down the dark stairs.

Slam the door behind me and pause in the warm light, in open possibility.  The sun gleaming off the plants, the fence, all the windows, all the vehicles.

I’m free here, just as I would be if I were somewhere else.  In Mexico.  In Italy.  India.  I can’t bring everything with me.  I have hardly any money.  There’s only so much you can take, so you must make a choice.  I don’t have much of anything really, anyway.  What’s inside me.  That’s all.

I may as well be away right now this minute.  Watching out the train window, the trees float by on the vast landscape.  I lower my pen and write. I am so free.  One letter to a friend I’ll forget to send, one journal entry on the type of music this outstretched uninhabited lonely plain calls out to me, one letter to a lover that’s better left unsent, several notes to my teachers.  I write for me.  I won’t be spinning some yarn in those words about what I’m doing next.  I’m not going to do.  I don’t know how to do, anymore.

Then I find myself here in the crowded cafe a half-block from my house, a seven-year residence.  Finally, I take a sip of my coffee.  I know nobody here.  Nobody sees me.