“Instructions for living a life.
Tell about it.”
― Mary Oliver
This week I was reminded that not all is good, and not all is good for me. I want to un-see what I saw, erase forever the images that popped up on my computer screen immediately after an opera video I was watching on Youtube. No warning, and there it was, cruel, shocking, and cutting through my soul like a knife. I didn’t know what to do. I gasped. I turned it off. But my mind played the images over and over again. I was hooked into darkness for a time.
And then, serendipitously and providentially, I was invited into a soul healing activity that is beginning to help me forget what I saw, not that I saw it, but take the edge of pain of it away.
A friend invited me to join a social media love challenge, posting only good messages. I’ve always tried to be that kind of person, but this week I’m being more intentional.
And then yesterday, as I sat alone on my porch on Canada Day and began to feel a little sad about that, I read this,
…become more conscious of the ways everyday acts and objects are inherently sacred when performed and regarded with intention. When we focus on whatever we are doing, we discover that God is in the midst of our work.
The Artist’s Rule, by Christine Valters Paintner
And then, maybe because of my soul pain and somewhat forced solitude, my heart turned to the thought of hanging up some poems, like little flags, like little prayers, and joining others in their space of being, for a time. Silently walking in their midst and offering my small blessings to them all. So I went, and I pinned PUP around the busy and quiet spaces, and I felt new life welling up in me. I didn’t feel so alone. I didn’t feel so dark and cut off. I performed a sacred act, just as the person who finds a poem will perform the sacred act of reading.
And I thank you God for showing me another way of you in the midst, of everything.
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.
Just a few early morning poetry pins around the beautiful streets before the ride to the airport and the take off and airborne goodbyes to the skyline and bay and landmarks now trodden by my tired feet: Alcatraz’s unexpected art and music installations, the poet’s chair at City Lights, Aria‘s surprises on upper Grant, Cafe Au Lait at Cafe Greco in North Beach, and climbing Lombardy Street and the 45 degree slopes up to Coit Tower and maybe parrots squawking, and riding the Big Bus tour and the trolleys and the streetcars, and eating in so many great restaurants, and finding poetry painted on hotel walls and stamped in the pavement and attached to the railings and now hanging there, my little Pop-Up-Poems hanging there like flags fluttering in accepting air. YES!
Oh San Francisco, be still my heart. Find the hearts that need you, Pop-Up-Poetry!
Most of all, thank you to the two dear hearts that joined mine on our lovely San Francisco adventure ❤ I love you both so much!
Last night we gathered at heART School for our Make Love Poems ~ Live Poetry Show. Nygel, Emmy, Lolu and Lesley-Anne (me) served up our words with just a wee bit of passion to all the lovely folk who came. And they’re still talking about it…
“Embracing, love, of all types with wonderful people at heART school, says Sami,
“Saturated in love and poetry last night at the heART School,” says Gillian,
“The music and the majesty, the magic and the mystery,” say Lolu, Emmy, Nygel and me.
And then, at the invitation of our poets, the audience offered up their words of love to be lovingly crafted by Lesley-Anne (me) into a custom, spontaneous, interactive poem! Yes, you bravely creative and brimming over with profundity, folk, you! Proving all you do is make love poems, too! You can see your poetry cards posted up on the board behind us in the photo… and now you can read what you wrote (with a little more editing today) 🙂
Thank you all for a heart warming evening of welcome. Thank you so much.
Now. Presenting YOUR WORDS. Poetized!
Sweet. Digital. Stars.
Love like you had one hour left
on this blue planet. Disconnect to really connect.
Mutual longing for community connection,
our cognitive knowledge that we are connected
by much more than mere familiarity.
Be present, be in the moment.
If I was twenty years younger
and twenty years bolder
I’d invite you to climb my Maple tree. You plague my life
like locusts, and I am the biggest bug lover.
Our palms harmonize the fractal lines
of our highs and lows with impermanent grasp.
If I could digest any part of you
it would be your warm, juicy, full-flesh heart.
Love is encouragement.
Love is laughing until you don’t make a sound.
Love is the smell of freshly baked cookies.
Love is a pirouette on a Sunday
when there’s nothing to do but dance with abandon.
Love is deaf, dumb and blind
and does not discriminate. Equal opportunity
for joy and pain, and I didn’t even realize
as I stretched to love myself
I would break his heart. He watches
the cardinals of her love fly heavenward. He feels
the coldness of his overwhelming empty nest. Perplexing
silent void until red birded ripening days return.
Sweet. Digital. Stars. You and me,
a spec of dust on a seed in wind. You and me
as the world goes by like ants in a line.
Love is not blind.
Love me. You are
my favourite. Sweet
whispers. Take me
to your leader.
note: I forgot to write my own words on an index card last night, so I added mine to our poem today. 🙂
Go. Love. Be.
This collaborative installation will be the largest PUP to date, and is an personal invitation to Wednesday, Feb. 25th’s MAKE LOVE POEMS ~ LIVE POETRY EVENT at heART School, Kelowna.
An evening of unconventional celebration. Four local poets take the stage to share snapshots from their journeys, moments captured in the evolution of their insides.
Spend an evening immersing yourself in the vivid stories and poems of Emmy Chahal, Nygel Metcalfe, Lesley-Anne Evans, and Lolu John Oyedele, celebrating the month of love and loss at Heart School. True stories, from every peak and canyon they have found themselves. Only one rule – they have to be LOVE poems.
Highlights of the evening will include a romantic creative environment, a group poem, interactive poetry, love notes for the wishing tree, and sharing space with a lot of lovely folk. Don’t miss it!!!
Tickets to the event are available HERE, through Eventbrite, and at the door.
So, be on the lookout for PUP in Kelowna Tuesday, Feb. 24th, and come out on Wednesday night for some sizzling word heat!!! ❤
We are getting ready for you…
At the last minute I tucked a few poems and some bull clips into my suitcase. Thought, why not…maybe there will be an opportunity for a walk through the neighbourhood where I spent my teen years. And maybe I will leave a sprinkling of poems there bringing everything full circle to embrace who I was and who I am now. It would be fun.
So one cold sunny morning I got up early and set out with my poems. I’d forgotten how cold winter treks along Mill Street were walking to Richmond Hill High School so many years ago. My legs and finger tips were soon numb, but a prickly feeling of excitement kept me going. And the beautiful setting, the glorious day. I walked around the Mill Pond, then back home through a park at Pleasantville School, pinning poems along the way. And the very last poem found its place on my parents garage wall trellis.
This is how one Richmond Hill resident described what happened next. She left this note on my Facebook page;
“Came across some Pop Up poetry by Mill Pond this morning and was totally smitten with what I read…magical. What a wonderful way to start the day. I found them all! I followed the trail and read one after the other….such a treat! The local paper snapped some shots as well…I think there were many pond goers enjoying your words!” ~ Veronica
How unexpected! Maybe the paper will print something, I don’t know? I will keep you posted! UPDATE: Seems they did…HERE.
Here are some photos of the install;
Happy 2015 every one!