What a joy to cycle past some Actual Athletes this morning on route to meeting you at Glasgow Green, making my way past New Zealand, then Rwanda, then Kenya at a street corner.
When I arrived I saw you were there already. You were in bunches and clusters, stringing yourselves with umbrellas and zipped valuables across a barrier ready to catch sight of a cyclist, chased by a car.
I saw how the most of you were waiting, but I also knew you were waiting with purpose, and the only queue that you formed found itself moving quickly into the mouth of Glasgow Green.
I squeezed my way through the thick of you handing out these little poetry gifts,” just a few lines of poetry on a counter number ticket, for you to read while you wait?” and most accepted the gift with curious concern, some with a look of utter disgust, some surprised and grateful – what is it? poetry? what? what do I have to do? oh, thank you – or bluntly, ah, no. N O.
As Tawona was told, “no, watching the bikes is the only poetry I need right now.” Which is poetry in itself.
And then one of you followed me to query what on earth I had given you–”is it poetry you are handing out?” and when I said, “yes, and I’ve one to share if you’d like,” you brought me back to where you waited with your wife, Dawn, and I had a chance to speak some images and gently draw some sounds while you smiled.
And then, Dear Punter who streams past us at the SECC and who finds themselves hurried along and hassled by vocal instruction wherever you go, attempting to become a Spectator- you take time to buy a drink or a snack and ask me if you can have whatever it is I am handing out. Thanks for letting me recite my favourite Dr Suess with your daughter.
Dear Punter who tells me that oh no, you are too stressed for poetry, I understand.
Dear Punter who tells me that you are not that deep, I have shallow poems just for you but something tells me you don’t really need them when you share your four favourite lines back to me, grooves of philosophy. Thanks for hearing me out and I like hearing your reply.
Dear Punter who tells me that you hate poets. Be civil. Hate is a strong word. Who did that to you?
Dear Punter who has a sense of humour. You make the world go round.
Dear Punter who asks me if it is free, my words to you are a gift. They are my truth right now. May they resonate with yours. You can’t eat them but you can sustain yourself on your own imagination. Finance minister Giulio Tremonti was quoted as saying, “You can’t eat culture.” To which I reply, Eat My Money. Money, like creativity, is a form of value and exchange. It is only our connections to each other and the fact we can exchange it for something else that make it mean something, be it food or food for thought.
Dear Punter who stood and listened, was relieved to see the queue move after I’ve shared the line, “I was a wrinkle that grew younger / with every stumble on a ‘why'” – thanks for inspiring us to chat about the Japanese term, wasi-sabi (beauty in decay) and the fixation the West has with respecting youth more than age.
Thanks for sparking a conversation with Tawona about how Elders (in Zimbabwe) are respected for their age, that there is beauty in wisdom, wrinkles are a sign of widsom . The saying, “I’ve already been to the field” meaning that where there are two crops that look the same (Moonga & ipwa) – that the older you are the more you know the difference without having to break one off and chew on it. Experience has taught you to know one weed from another harvest. In the West, those who have already been to the field are sent so often with a sigh of impatience rather than an awed appreciation.
Dear Punter, without you out there none of this would be even an idea. See you tomorrow.
PS- I can only hope one day to be that dancing Grandmother I just saw along Arygle St outside St Enoch shopping centre, jiving along to hip hop, with someone half her height, within the natural stage that the gathered crowd had created with their attentive semi-circle. Always wonder. We must always wonder why. And it is never too late to dance.