Street poetry

I was about to cross the street when I noticed a pattern all too familiar — 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables. A haiku.

I was taken aback and, out of excitement, pulled my friend out of traffic for her to see it. I was ecstatic.

You see, haiku have been a thing. I wrote three of them the day before and was already in the practice of counting my thoughts’ syllables. Now, the syllables were in front of me.

This haiku is by John Morse and is part of the NYC Department of Transportation’s Curbside Haiku, a safety education program and public art campaign that’s dispersed throughout the city.

It was a weekend of poetry, and I could not have been happier.

Counting syllables

I wrote three haiku this morning, the most I’ve ever written in a day (I’m still surprised myself). They all came out of my journey to NYC today.

I was hesitant to leave the house without my camera out of fear that I’d be missing out on the opportunity to take some cool pics, but something inside me didn’t want to.

my inner writer
doesn’t want to take pictures
she just wants to write

Because I was running late, I was half-expecting (or more so convinced) that I wouldn’t make it to the bus terminal in time. I thought I had two more stops to go.

it’s one stop away
that alone gave me some hope
as long as I ran

I made it (with literally a minute to spare, no lie) and settled in. An hour into the trip, I began writing and came across a blog post that got me thinking.

I tend to latch on
to things I do not want
out of fear of loss

Interestingly enough, I came across this and the morning went full circle.

@davidshrigley

Paint your veggies and eat them too

This morning I decided to head out to the Somerville Winter Farmers Market to partake in Urban Sketchers Boston, a group that gathers weekly to sketch. I’ve been once before but wanted to get back into it again.

I felt a bit of anxiety as I arrived due to the amount of people that were there, but the sound of live jazz coming from the café helped ease me.

Once in the market’s main area, I walked around to take it all in: fresh vegetables, hanging plants, pastries. My anxiety still lingered, so I went to the market’s second floor to see what else I could get my eyes on.

I eventually found a stand lined with books on sale from the local public library. And there, looking right at me, was a copy of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 (I had been in search of it up to that point, since I want to use a passage for an upcoming blog post).

Astounded, I picked up Fahrenheit and asked the sellers if I could take a picture of the quote I was looking for. But before I began leafing through the pages, it occurred to me to ask how much the book was going for. The price could not have been better: one dollar, along with everything else.

With that in mind, I jumped to see what else they had to offer. I came across Haiku in English edited by Jim Kacian, Love Poems by Pablo Neruda, and D.I.Y.: Design it Yourself (Design Handbooks) edited by Ellen Lupton.

These were only three out of the nine that I bought. The other titles include:

  • Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  • Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
  • The Rolling Stone Interviews edited by Jann S. Wenner
  • The Neighborhood Project: Using Evolution to Improve my City, One Block at a Time by David Sloan Wilson

I was in heaven. Each of these books touched topics that have recently had personal significance. I can’t shy away from saying that it felt as though it was meant to be.

Content with my purchase and with my hands full, I went downstairs to finally see what I was going to draw. I landed on a vegetable stand at the very entrance of the farmers market, trying not to be in people’s way.

I started off drawing the stand, but decided to watercolor a watermelon radish at the very end.

The radish was striking. I drew and painted the radish on-site, but later added the text, which was an idea I took from fellow artist Kate.

Artist: @mightydays

I was really impressed with her work. The shadowing within the box and detail of the leaning squash at the top stand out, with the hidden letters adding another layer of interest.

I remembered, a haiku

It wasn’t until I got back from California that I realized how much I really appreciate my friends in Boston.

Each one adds their own color and flavor. Hearing their laughs and seeing their quirks again reassured me of this. Man, I’m glad to be back.

The only, a haiku

Here’s this week’s haiku to set the mood. It took me more than an hour to come up the first two lines, but they flow really nicely.

I maneuvered through Monday morning with this thought: I really am only here, so I will be mentally present where I am, because that’s all there is.

I am very imaginative and have a tendency to be in my head, picturing myself everywhere else but where I am.

It sounds dreamy (and it literally is!), but it actually hurts me when I don’t have an anchor — something to remind me that out of all the imagined scenarios and places I can see myself in, my life is right here, right now in Boston.

This haiku is for the dreamers out there like myself.