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worn words

At our Goddard College undergraduate residencies we usually have an evening Reading Event where students, staff, and faculty can share a short piece or excerpt of a longer piece that they’ve written. This past residency I didn’t go with anything to read, so I thought I’d try to create a piece on the fly (so to speak). Throughout the residency I walked around with my phone, gathering words that I saw worn (on clothing, shoes, tattoos, etc.) and then on the day of the reading I used some of those words to write the following piece.

(August 2017)

worn words

Goddard Goddard Goddard
more than once in a lifetime, earthwalk gently
picking up the pieces

become an obliviator
for lovers, autoworkers, Rosh Eidah
drug users, droids, strangers
shape wider circles
own your superpower, brewing bent water

guns & gluttony
strand life


foot drop
on the other side of fear
18 miles of books
FUBU Farms
to choose freedom, trees
peace, by growing peace

risk magical disturbances, con dignidad
practice for poetics
and thoughts become Caliente

yes, I’m a water tender
recruiting now, every half moon
a dream

going fast
coming soon.

*   *   *

In a way, this poem is a kind of text walking piece, even though I did not take any photographs of the bits of worn text.

The process of writing this poem has certainly led me back to thinking about other possibilities within the realm of text walking. There’s been an idea for a video project that’s been brewing in me for quite awhile, that this on-the-fly poem has re-sparked. I just haven’t figured out, yet, how to work through some of the issues, so I haven’t been able to move the idea forward. Hopefully one of these days I’ll be able to figure it out.

(November 2018)

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