Lucky me, to be invited to spend a few hours in the park last weekend, talking poetry and silliness with neighbors. Thanks to the Recreation and Community Services department of the City of Cupertino for hosting Celebration of Art, one in their series of Neighborhood Events this summer.
Kaecey McCormick, the current Cupertino Poet Laureate, was on a (well-deserved) holiday, so they asked me to fill in. Here some photos of the scene.
I had magnetic poetry on one table, books for reading on another. I set up my typewriter and typed up poems for anyone brave enough to select a word from one of the sets of cards.
Everyone who stopped by was offered a chance to add some words to a list of odd things. This is an idea I learned about from colleagues at California Poets in the Schools. It’s a Mad-Libs sort of game, and folks of all ages can play. At the end of the day, we had three sheets of odd things.
Today I combined them into a poem, the essence of that summer afternoon with neighbors at the end of summer.
All The Things We’re Thinking Of
A list poem written by visitors to the poetry booth on Sunday August 12, 2018 – Celebration of Art, Three Oaks Park, Cupertino California
On Sunday afternoon, at the end of summer,
we collect and wonder, who would think
of a school of buses,
a loaf of lamb chops,
a herd of gazelle?
A cast of Cupertino MVPs?
We’re thinking of a set of chess pieces
and a bunch of little dogs.
Someone suggests a batch of lettuce,
Someone else a jug of beer.
We imagine a fleet of sheep,
a litter of poems, a string of bubbles,
a pod of popcorn.
Somewhere there is a pair of
“getting in the spirit” people.
Now we’re talking:
a flotilla of basketballs,
a gaggle of iPhones.
Here’s a pack of bouncy houses,
a swarm of children.
A father sighs, “a bed of responsibilities.”
Here in the park, a cast of clowns,
a fine flock of neighbors.
A quiver of joy.
Stranger and stranger:
A head of surgery.
A team of screams at a soccer game,
a bouquet of yellow tulips.
The school of exquisite,
a loaf of trigonometry.
A herd of cougars eating popcorn,
a cast of bean toss players,
a set of striped dresses.
A bunch of big.
A batch of opportunity.
A jug of grape juice in the park.
A fleet of basketballs (some themes repeat)
A litter of ancient words.
For a little sister, a string of paper butterflies,
for a couple of boys, a pod of Tin Tin comics.
Do you see the pair of bows,
the flotilla of crows,
pack of paintings,
swarm of penguins?
A bed of cougars (Kennedy Middle School
mascot, you know).
A flock of pencils, a quiver of music.
We’re not so sure about the head of zodiac,
but the team of Fireballs
are strong soccer girls.
a bouquet of potatoes,
a school of art,
a loaf of ravioli,
a herd of cows.
Cast of sisters,
set of pawns, and this time,
a bunch of potatoes.
A (big) batch of hot boys and girls,
a jug of paintbrushes.
A fleet of weeks left in summer (we wish).
A string of pasta (we’re getting hungry) — like every kind.
A pod of peas,
a pair of ponytails.
A gaggle of grandmas and grandpas
sit in a pack of shade.
Finally, a swarm of tarot cards, a cast
of new friends.
A flock of notes, another
quiver of papers for school.
Team of tigers roaming in the forest, and a
final bouquet of potatoes.
We did it!