A couple months ago, I tried two new things while typing Free Poetry during the Pasadena Art Walk:

  • Used carbon paper to create copies of each poem
  • Took a photograph of each participant with their poem

I liked giving life to an old project in this way. The carbon copies came out as thick, black ink. A xeroxed feel, containing smudges and imperfections. I was surprised to find I loved them more than the originals.

Giving away the original copy and keeping the carbon felt like a much lighter flow: the exchange between two people evolving, like two seas breathing the same wind.

The portraits–simple iPhone photos–were fun to do. I posted them on Instagram (@typewriterpoetry) so that each participant could find it. I previously shared the Poetry Portrait & Poem for Evelyn a few days ago. Here’s the portrait of and for Rebekah:

Poetry Portrait of Rebekah at the Pasadena Art Walk - Typewriter Poetry, October 2019
Poetry Portrait & Typewriter Poem for Rebekah.

We connected over Hawaii & the Big Island, where she’s from. I asked what brought her to the mainland. She’s studying at Cal Tech for her graduate degree. She told me about a friend who, for a communications assignment, didn’t break eye contact with whoever he was talking to. We laughed at the awkwardness of sitting in a chair, being observed by someone writing about you. She recognized my writing flow, as she writes too—I only know what it’s like to be the observing poet in these situations, so I really appreciated hearing her perspective.

October 12th, 2019

The difference between eyes that are gazing,
eyes that are on lock
eyes that are geared for attack.

We make our homes in separate places,
often traveling between them
in search. Looking

without wandering in a playful, human air.
There are spaces with pale undertones,
light pink, dark blue, deep grays.

Then two have eyes
with secret miles
writing wild
deep discoveries
on an unknown parchment
(new castles, thin air,
and sometimes the need for bliss.)

–billimarie


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