Street Corner Poetry
It was a busy day in downtown Asheville, North Carolina and I only had a few minutes to shop and enjoy the sights and sounds of a new city. I was on a quick weekend trip spending precious time with my son, daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren, so shopping was last on the list of the many things we wanted to do to re-connect in three short days. But there we were in a busy downtown area with a few minutes to shop. As I crossed the busy street towards what I spied to be a cute shop with little girly dresses in the window, I recalled my late-husband often-quoted phrase: “There’s no shopping in vacation!” whining just like Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own. Despite his words singing in my head, I continued on with a smile and an urgency to reach the store. I swung open the door and that’s when I saw him. He was sitting on a stool across the way with a typewriter balanced on a box. The side of the box bore a sign that read Poems for Sale. I stopped in my tracks still holding open the door. What did that mean poems for sale? I desperately wanted to take a moment and explore further but I was soon interrupted with the gently tugging on my hand by my granddaughter reminding me of the store filled with frilly delights that beckoned before us. I ventured in, hesitant to let go of the image of the man selling poems on the street.
I often think of that man selling poems and wonder…
- What was the price of his poem?
- Can you put a price on poetry?
- How were poems generated? Was the buyer involved in the topic generation?
- What was the background of the poet on the street corner?
- Did he ever struggle or have writer’s block?
- Was this a full time job or a fun little hobby?
So many questions that will have to wait until my next visit to Asheville. I hope he is still there typing away.
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