You Are Here
Written in response to Sunday Scribblings prompt #289: You Are Here.
Poem written a half hour's drive from Occupy Orlando
(a quick-write exercise at the FSPA convention)
Every day our largest medallion rises
and its light sparkles
off "Cash For Gold."
The signs, the banners, the clowns sporting sandwich boards
dancing on the street corner. The flyers,
the window decals, clustered yellow
like a thousand suns. "Cash For Gold,"
bright inks cutting the humid mornings
into pieces of eight, pieces of 16, 32, 64,
the laws of diminishing returns, tiny bites,
a cloud of mosquitos drawing blood.
But the protesters down the road
ignore the insects
as the sun climbs higher
and the police move in.* "Cash For Gold"
continues to shine, next to the Dollar Store,
across the street from the soup kitchen,
beside the real estate office
with its lists of foreclosures.
And the gold, gold, gold sun rises.
And we exhale in the heat,
inhale the darkness,
and, climbing out of the abyss,
begin to carry different signs.
* According to the Occupy Orlando Facebook page, yesterday's march was calm and without police action. The night before I traveled to Orlando, I had followed livestreams and videos showing arrests taking place in other Occupy locations.
I had wanted to be in two places at once -- the Florida State Poets Association convention, where I had an all-day schedule as this year's contest chair -- and Occupy Orlando, located just a few miles from the convention. Orlando is a two-hour drive from home.
In addition to her keynote address, Gianna Russo of YellowJacket Press conducted a workshop entitled, "A Breath of Fresh Air -- Poetry of the Outdoors." Touching on more than "nature poetry," the workshop explored ways in which nature is used as a vehicle to express something else, as a frame containing the true meaning of a poem.
Gianna Russo. Read her bio here.
She began with a pure nature poem, Judith Harris's "Mockingbird." Russo followed with her own "Daybreak, Cape Canaveral," which contrasted the nature of old Florida with the Florida of NASA and of Disney.
Lynda Hull's "Insect Life of Florida" became the vehicle for an on-the-spot writing exercise.
Gianna told us to choose five words from Hull's work and use them in a poem of our own. Even before I chose my words -- "clustered yellow," "humid mornings," and "mosquitos," my poem had begun writing itself, emerging as you see it above in about ten minutes.