Nearly every week, I take a morning and go away to write. By “go away, ” I mean go away, as in leave my office and my little town in search of somewhere else, usually a certain coffee shop in the next big town where I write over a ristretto shot with steamed milk and under the curiously repetitive sounds of acoustic hipster background music.
After one recent such morning away, a few miles down Interstate 29 while I was listening to Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me on Minnesota Public Radio, I noticed a small white card under my windshield wiper. My mind traveled through all manner of wondrous ideas that visions of grandeur have to offer as I pulled off the highway and turned onto an approach so I could investigate. Perhaps it was an invitation to an exciting event. Or maybe the girl who works at the coffee shop really is reading my serial novel like she says and left me a note to tell me what a brilliant author I am. It could have been a parking ticket, I suppose. By the time I got out of the car, I’d have been happy with a 25-cents-off coupon for the frozen yogurt shop down the street from the coffee shop.
As things turned out, it was a little note from someone named Millie, who began by saying “I don’t know you.” Millie, who found herself and her car door compelled by the wind, banged up my passenger door, I discovered. And while she pointed out that she couldn’t control it, she thought she should offer to pay for part of the repairs. Oh, Millie. I am a claim adjuster. You should pay for all of the repairs.
But I won’t ask her to. It’s a small scuff and not worth trying to explain how the wind has no funds to pay the other half.
While the world was celebrating Random Acts of Poetry Day, leaving poems on mirrors and blackboards and car windshields, I was thinking about Millie. On a day when people wanted to brighten other people’s days, surprise them with the whimsy or wonder of a simple poem, I wished that Millie had left something thoughtful from Tony Hoagland or Pablo Neruda or Adrienne Rich on the back of her chiropractor’s appointment card. I wished that I had seen the card before I left the parking lot, so I could have left her a little haiku about wind and car doors and the ways we hold on tight in return.
When we created our little Random Acts ideas ebooklet, we had 10 things you could do to celebrate with a poem. And we left those ideas open to your random interpretation. Of course there were more than 10 things you could do. And many of you found a way to do them. Here, dropped randomly into our fun little categories, are some of our favorite Random Acts of Poetry sightings from the day yesterday.
Type a poem on a computer in a computer store
It’s not a computer, or a computer store. But a murder mystery is a great random place for poetry.
— Film Flam (@WSUFilm) October 7, 2015
Put a poem in your voicemail
Or, run up to a teacher and share your random poem.
— Lexanne Leonard (@leximagines) October 7, 2015
Leave a poem under the wiper on a car windshield
I like to imagine that this wall is a windshield, and smile at the look on someone’s face when they come out of the grocery store to find their car plastered with poems on Post-It Notes.
— Matt Clarke (@mrclarke7) October 7, 2015
If you made enough poems to share with everyone, you could leave them on all the cars in the shopping mall.
— Donna Z Falcone (@BrighterSideBlg) October 7, 2015
And maybe not the windshield, but a poem about the whole car.
Today is Random Acts of Poetry Day! "Old Car" I pass it every day after school, and I see my dad's old car… http://t.co/2j3ztQsr88
— InfinitiNWI (@InfinitiNWI) October 7, 2015
We’re betting these made their way onto a few windshields.
— Art_a_day_gal (@scarletteak) October 7, 2015
And look, a real poem on a real windshield!
Braid a poem into your hair
Or, you know, weave one into a spindly plant.
Happy Random Acts of Poetry Day! I also handed a couple out here to a couple of places I go to a lot here! Fun! ???? pic.twitter.com/RE789ABHMn
— Lesa Medley (@sweetplesa) October 7, 2015
And if you happen to share a hair poem with your hairdresser, do mind the ceramic acorn.
— SandraHeskaKing (@SandraHeskaKing) October 7, 2015
Write a poem on a blackboard
Or in the case of the modern teacher, a whiteboard:
— Katie Hollas (@kthollas53) October 7, 2015
Or paper on your whiteboard.
I love these 7th graders’ haikus:
— Callie Feyen (@CallieFeyen) October 7, 2015
Tape a poem to a bathroom mirror
Some people have their laundry in the bathroom. That works. 🙂
— Laura Lynn Brown (@lauralynn_brown) October 7, 2015
And sure. It’s not a bathroom mirror, but has a little of that reflective action going on.
— The Quilliad (@TheQuilliad) October 7, 2015
I think this is near the bathroom.
This is the way selfies ought to be.
Chalk a poem onto the sidewalk
If Glynn had chalk, he could have written this poem on the sidewalk in London.
— Glynn Young (@gyoung9751) October 7, 2015
And when you find fall leaves on the sidewalk, write a poem on them.
Send a poem to your email contact list
That’s one way to have a poem go viral.
— NC Writers' Network (@WritingestState) October 7, 2015
Slip a poem under a door
Especially if you have very small neighbors with a very small door.
— Laura Lynn Brown (@lauralynn_brown) October 7, 2015
These were not quite “slipped under a door” but the idea of being deposited in secret around Darlene’s town has that same sort of feel.
— Simply Darlene (@SimplyDarWrites) October 7, 2015
Become a poem
When one forgets the handprinted leaves, one must become the poem.
Random Acts of Poetry day & I've left my bag of handprinted leaves at home. The only scattered image here is my own. #raoPoetry fail!
— indigo eli (@indigo_eli) October 7, 2015
Or really, one becomes the poem:
Maybe we could make a habit of Random Acts of Poetry. Maybe Millie will join in.
Featured photo by L.L. Barkat. Post by LW Lindquist.