WARNING: Try this at home. You do not need to be a trained professional. It involves no risk to life or limb that the author is aware of. It is not as exciting as Fear Factor and you will not have to humiliate yourself for money.
I've decided that the world needs more poetry.
I recently attended a funeral and a wedding. On both occasions poetry was recited to invoke the human spirit, albeit for different purposes. I asked myself if those should be the only two times in life when people spout poetry. The answer was a resounding NO.
But what to do?
Give people poetry. Disposable poetry with no strings attached. Poems that could be found in any location, at any time, completely unexpected with no author, no gratification and no criticism. A pure art form. I was sure it would change the world somehow, at least for a few people.
I came up with a plan. I'm not sure when the Muses presented the idea to me. I'm not sure how it evolved. But to me, it was ingenious.
I would write poems on Post-It notes and leave them in random locations throughout the city. The Muses were smiling. I set to work. I procured a bunch of Post-Its from work. I sauntered to Jittery Joe's 5- points, ordered myself a coffee and set to work. I wrote tons of poems. Some were placed immediately. Others were kept in my bag for use at a later time, whenever I might be in a new locale and in need of a random Post-It poem.
On those small sheets of yellow paper I wrote things like:
A Post-It from Buddha
Crush my bones and
filter me into a pot.
Make me into a cup of
Drink me to awaken your
body and mind.
(posted on the bottom of a coffee mug at Blue Sky)
Of All Things innate in Humans
and know the Holy
(rolled up in the toilet paper at Espresso Royale Cafe)
here you are.
You are a poem.
(posted on the mirror of Jittery Joe’s bathroom)
(posted on a phone booth downtown)
You might think.
I am a woman.
(Mellow Mushroom menu)
The msytic dances in the sun,
hearing music other's don't.
"Insanity," they say, those others.
If so, It's a very gentle,
Rumi (translated by Coleman Barks)
(posted under a plate at DePalmas)
Then I went around posting hundreds of them in random locations. On the bottom of coffee mugs, inside menus, rolled up inside the toilet paper in the bathroom of various establishments, bathroom mirrors in public toilets, pay phones and just about any other place I could think of. I peppered the city with poetry: Jittery Joe's, Earth Fare, DePalma's, Blue Sky, The Globe, all my usual hangouts. They all received my free works.
I imagined dish washers finding a poem on the bottom of the mugs they were about to clean. I envisioned businessmen opening up the menu at a restaurant and finding my poem. I dreamed of someone going into a toilet and finding a poem on the mirror, or better yet, sitting down, unrolling the toilet paper and finding a little poem coiled up inside. I figured they would be surprised, happy or at least moved to think. Who knows? I would never know. That was the beauty of it. An enterprise with no measurable outcome, no final product and no bottom line. A work of pure nonsense. Beauty in action, alive and organic.
I got carried away with it and dreamed of people writing to the papers about random poems they had found in the oddest, most unexpected places; inside the coin slot of a pay phone, or underneath their lunch plate. I dreamed it would change lives. Maybe it did. Maybe it made someone smile. I would never know.
I kept it up for a few months until I ran out of poems and grew tired. Callan, the keeper of my secret, was the only person I ever told of this project. No one else knew but I figure a lot of people witnessed the poems. I was open, awake and poetry was part of my daily life.
No one ever wrote to the papers. It never escalated to that point. But I was confident I had succeeded. Out of all the poems I posted, I was sure at least one had been discovered, and as the discoverer read the poem they had been opened in some small way. I was sure someone had stopped for a moment and thought 'What an odd thing. I just found a poem here under my plate. Interesting. I wonder who did that?'
I was sure of it.