Unexpected feedback

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Today it has been dull, it rained, the wind has blown in gusts, and the sun has shone and is shining still. I didn’t really know if the installation was a good idea or not, especially since the papers won’t last if they get wet. But I went out anyway when the rain broke and the sun came out and it was invigorating.

And this moment signifies the turning point, from creative idea to purpose. Because as I continued to walk and hang up little slips of paper with little bits of poetry on them, suddenly these boys rode up to me.

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They seemed friendly enough, so I said;

Hi, I’m just hanging up some poetry.

Oh yes, we know, they said, we’ve found about five of them already.

Oh, I said. I’ve hung about 20 of them around here.

Well then we are going to go find some more, said the older one, no more than 10 or 12.

I was flabbergasted and amazed as I imagined these young boys finding (and reading!!!) poetry at their age! What do I know, but I certainly didn’t think they’d be interested. I was completely enthralled by them, but didn’t want to get all sugary and scare them so I asked if I could take their photo and they agreed.

On I went, heading home, a couple more poems in my hands. By the time I reached the end of the road, suddenly they were beside me again on their bikes. I jumped.

Sorry, he said, I didn’t mean to scare you.

That’s OK, I said.

And then he said;

Thanks for the wonderful adventure!

WOW!!!! And I may have sounded a just a tiny bit gushy when I said (with what I imagine was a huge Cheshire cat smile on my face);

It was really nice to meet you guys today, and you really made my day, and thank you for looking for my poems.

Truth is I felt like crying, like singing, and I think I may have floated back up the road to the house with his words playing over and over again in my mind. Wow, finding my poetry was an adventure.!?! I never would have thought that. Thank you, boys, thank you so so much! What kind of parents raise these kind of boys? What a joy! What a refreshing connection!

Here are some photos of some of the other poems still out there…but you’ll have to hurry if you’d like to have an adventure too, because the wind is picking up again.

This poet’s heart feels particularly fond of boys today.

On purpose,

Lesley-Anne

Burn

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DSC_0005Okanagan Mountain Firestorm, 2003

 

When grief sweeps deep into gullies,
once green meadows melt, Ponderosa
sticks, flame sharpened, poke the sky;
I flee to the watery horizon,
throat full of words I will not purge,
eyelids on fire with memories.

When white-tails race down Wild
Horse, fast heat and smoke snuffs nests
of mole, cottontail dreams, skinks
falter, fade; I shake my fist
while Firestorm forces molten crowns
on every virgin head.

When they come heavy with human
power, sweat and fear and balls,
they build a line, attack despair; no sleep
until we lay in smoldering highlands,
balm and gentleness for our wounds,
dreams of snow for our dark nakedness.

When forgiveness, fireweed pink,
impossible, blooms in April soil, I sink
to my knees, call Lynx, Black Bear,
and Coyote, home. I raise my hands
for Western Grebe, and Spotted Bat,
whisper songs of chartreuse moss
to the face of every ashen stone, and promise;

always, everywhere, we will begin again.

 

 

LAE 2003

Don’t fence me in

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We knew it was coming, first the move out, then the move on, then the moving in of the hazmat team, proceeded by fences and followed by bulldozers. We knew it. We prepared. We celebrated. We left our mark on the building face like it has made a mark in our hearts.

So, today wasn’t a surprise, but still it felt surprising to see the doorway fenced off, the new art and words from a distance, and my heart feeling a little heave-ho because this was it. We have not gone anywhere, and we are determined to stay close and hold out hope to the homeless and vulnerable and disenfranchised for as long as it takes. Still, this was our home of several years. This is where people dropped in and stayed and sat around a little table and wrote poems and then shared them. This is where first words were uttered, where he finally spoke to me, where she smiled and invited me into a conversation.

All I can do today is continue to remember, take a few more pictures, and then, because they were already waiting in the back of my truck and because I was recently told to “do what I can” and I brought what I had…a pop-up happened. A few of my poems hanging like little prayer flags on the moduloc fence, waving goodbye.

Believing in what is to come…what can never be fenced in,

Lesley-Anne

p.s. and just so I have to chuckle rather than cry, I notice in one of the pictures a typo on a poem…and recognize even in a simple little installation there is room to be imperfect and humbled.

p.p.s. soon we will be launching our Metro HOLDINGOUTHOPE campaign. And the stories, oh the stories…

 

How the poems felt about it…

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It was a blue bird day, and the poems were alert in their lively cling to the wire, their flutter of twos and threes. The wind cleared their heads of winter, and they soon realized the grape vines clinging beside them were similarly inspired, weathered arms held up to the sun, green ideas budding out in the warmth and light. And then the moment came when a woman reached out and touched one of the poems. How it felt to be chosen and held like that, the woman’s eyes intent on each lettered scar, the nakedness of lines. How the women read, gently, to last letter of last word. DSC_0040 DSC_0041 DSC_0039 DSC_0037 DSC_0036 DSC_0035