Most of the people I typed for at last year’s Artisanal LA event have blurred together in memory. Even still, there is one fellow I have no intention of ever forgetting. He came over with a friend. She wandered off to take pictures as he and I began to talk. At first, we did the basic Typewriter Poetry dance. He asked about the project, I answered with my usual bases covered. Soon, something shifted. He sat down on the floor. I halted my work on another person’s poem. We dove into our hitchhiking and traveling stories; afterward, he shared his love of robotics and electronics with me.
The first question people usually ask me after we’ve been talking for a while is “where are you from?”
“I’m from LA,” I always say, though now that I’m in Louisiana I wonder if I should be abbreviating it as “L.A.” in my head.
Whether it’s my clothing, demeanor, accent, or the fact that I use “dude” more than the average person should, everyone always nods their head in immediate understanding when I declare I am from California.
Don’t ask me why, but I thought it’d be a swell idea to contribute 1,500 poems for this Saturday’s event gift bags. That’s right. 1,500 tiny, original poems. Via typewriter.
This man criticized my new friend for not paying me with money for a poem. I asked, “who are you to judge another person’s investment?” He repeated that line over and over again, as if singing a song. “Who are you?” he demanded in a deep melodic voice, emphasis changing each time. “Who are you?” He scared my friend away, then unkindly demanded I create a poem about my question.