Matt & Colleen asked me to write a poem as a wedding gift for their friends Mark & Robert. One of them is a doctor, and the two of them enjoy jet-setting to Turkey where one of them speaks the language. I think wedding poems are the hardest to write, there's a lot less room for weird shit and you have to end on an up-note, but I'm happy with this one. Here's wishing Mark & Robert many happy returns!
My grandfather was a kitchen-window birdwatcher for as long as I knew him. He really did fill out forms and send them into the Audubon Society for migratory tracking purposes. I am also reasonably certain that at some point he would have watched an episode of Nova about terraforming Mars.
Yes, I've had a lot of fun living with friends in the past. Kayla, Nicole, Clare, & Kaitlin are four roommates, and I can only hope that they enjoy reading pantoums as much as I enjoy writing them.
Lori's family had me type her this poem. They were on their way to a big group dinner to celebrate her promotion. I hope she's enjoying her new job!
One of the most rewarding things about writing poems on demand is having unexpectedly personal interactions with complete strangers. Stacey happened to walk past my table at an event in September with her baby girl in a stroller. She asked for a poem for her daughter. I asked for a few of her daughter's interests, which turned out to include eating, sleeping, and putting things into her mouth. Stacey then mentioned that she had been caring for the baby for several months, but had only that day officially received final approval for adoption of her daughter.
The weight of the whole situation, the strange complexity of the process this family had just gone through, and the emotional significance of the closure that they had been granted really struck me. Of the occasional poems I've been asked to write, it's among those of which I'm most proud.
When we first started dating I let my wife borrow my copy of my favorite book, which she returned annotated with a running commentary in little scraps of paper. It will always be my favorite book. I now have a second copy of the book for loaning out. The copy she borrowed lives on a special shelf under a glass dome display. I only handle it while wearing powder-free nitrile gloves. I have day dreams about our children fighting over who will inherit when we die.
"Making Your Own Days" is the title of a great book about reading and writing poetry by the teacher and poet Kenneth Koch. Koch borrowed the title from a poem by his friend Frank O'Hara, and I borrowed it again for this poem, which was a gift for a mother of three who has started a successful business designing, printing, and selling her own day-planners. (Get it?) The gift was from her youngest daughter, who mentioned Scrabble as a favorite family activity. Also "jot" is an excellent Scrabble word. If you want to dominate 95% of the population in Scrabble go memorize all the 2 and 3 letter words, but be warned that it won't make you any friends.
(Ok, I stole the title from Koch & O'Hara, but they were both done with it and at least I was stealing from the best.)
At a Pop-up Sunday last Summer someone named Patricia asked me to write a poem on several subjects. I forget what most of them were because after finishing the list and starting to walk away she quickly turned and added "Oh, and put birds in there!" I'm not sure how I resisted including a Portlandia reference in this poem, but I'm glad I did.
Regular visitors here will know that my wife is an artist and illustrator. Our desks are right beside each other, so I enjoy being able to watch her works-in-progress take shape over time. Still the other day, she posted an image that took me by surprise and delighted me beyond words.
I love this vampiric alpaca so much. It has me in its thrall. My blood is its blood. If this alpaca told me to steal blossoms from Emily Dickinson's garden for its flower crown I would be on the next plane to Amherst.
You can find out more about how it came about here, but essentially Tyler is participating in this month's Creative Unblock assignment from the Jealous Curator, who has a whole book full of assignments to get you off your butt and making art. I haven't read the book (yet), but since Poems Typed Fresh is all about me getting off my butt and making art, I thought I'd share Tyler's picture along with the following poem for my new camelid muse.
Lesson: Poems make poor recipes.
When I was very young a now notorious tornado destroyed many structures in the Tennessee Valley region where I grew up, including my school and my Grandparents home. I later told my parents that Grandma's house "got poofed."
Hannah asked for a poem about nature. Incidentally, that's what word I'd meant to type in line 21: "nature" not "batyre." Also, the Ken Burns documentary about Frank Lloyd Wright's life is highly recommended.
Yvonne's son, Owen had just graduated college and was making plans for the next phase of his life. For a while he was seriously considering a turn driving the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile. This is true. His mother told me. Instead, a friend gave him a one-way ticket to Alaska where Owen has spent the last year, presumably climbing glaciers, drinking cowboy coffee from an enameled camp mug, and writing the great american novel by lamplight. I am jealous of Owen's sense of adventure.
At the June pop-up market one of the other vendors, Ned from Go Local Produce, asked if I'd be willing to trade a poem for a giant bag of fresh fruit & vegetables. Yes. Yes, I would! To be clear, he specifically asked for a "cheesy love poem" for his "teeny tiny cutie pie" wife.
Luke and Abel are brothers, aged 20 months & 1 month respectively. Their interests include goldfish crackers and the muppet stylings of Sesame Street's Grover. They are fortunate enough to live on a Lake and to have grandparents who request that strangers in parking lots type poems for them.
Chuck has made the peculiar life choice of studying ticks & mosquitos professionally. Against those odds he has also maintained the affections of a family of humans that saw fit to mark the occasion of his 69th birthday with a poem.
Donna requested a happy poem about a sunny day before hurriedly adding cats to the mix. We don't get to pick what delights us, but we can have people write about it.