I have a seed of poetry this Thursday to share about something overheard...something observed. This is how I have learned to write dialogue for my fiction--by sitting in the cafe with my notebook and copying whole conversations from people around me. I don't use these words--I just study them. The cadences, the pauses, the syntax, the slang...I have also been assigning "Found Poetry" activities to my students for quite some time, inspired by the quote from M.C. Richards, "Poetry often enters through the window of irrelevance."
My entry point to poetry this week came from a crossing guard at the bookstore--in full uniform, browsing gardening books. Here is my first draft of "overheard poetry". So rough--literally, my initial copy from the notebook...but, here it is anyway:
On Seeing Him
The crossing guard browses between
Stacks of books
a glossy missive about tulips
rests beneath his left arm
a gleaming silver whistle
beneath his right.
"Excuse me," his words and
his shock of white hair
sunglasses nesting in place...
All he doesn't say about
protection for darting innocent eyes.
Gin blossom blooms
in its gentle purple way
across the discolored acreage
where his nose used to be.
You cannot tell me he doesn't know
about the very real need for
He looks both ways when he traverses the pavement
a slight limp betraying his past,
his instinctive reaching for the whistle
--mid-street--reveals a present state of thought.
The book he's now purchased...
The earth-encrusted bulb on his face...
A buried dream
Of his flowering future.
--by C. Delia Scarpitti, 2006--