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The Poem Store

Back to the Sunday morning yoga instructor who told us about The Happiness Movie.

Today she related how she stumbled on a new stand at her local farmer’s market. It consisted of a folding table with a typewriter on it, and a sign that read “Poem Store. Choose your topic and your price.” Wow, she thought, and gave her topic to the young guy behind the typewriter.

“Oh, but I’m not carrying any cash. I’ve just been using my debit card… What if — could I buy you a cupcake from the stand over there?”

He followed her gesture and nodded, “Do they have those really delicious chocolate ones with the crumbled Oreos on top?”

“No, but let me see, they do have a lemon one with golden Oreos. Will that do?”

“Yes. Go ahead and do the rest of your shopping and when you return, I’ll have your poem for you.”

The yoga instructor returned and was delighted with her one-of-a-kind, authentic poem. He even made a mistake, she said, and went back over it and X’ed it out. She was going to read it to our class, but poetry could be a little much at 8AM in the morning. So it was just sitting on the dashboard of her car.

“But how awesome is that?” she said. “And how vulnerable? I mean, it’s not like he decided he was only going to write poems about the winter, for $5.00, on his iPhone that was plugged into a printer. The simplicity of it really spoke to me. Just that he was willing to go there. And so was I.”

Who do you give your attention to? The job seeker, the entrepreneur, even the annoying telemarketer. They’re the poetry guy, asking you to suspend your busyness, your errands, your original purpose and just be willing to go there.

I was enthralled by the story and was about to ask her if she could read the poem anyway, but then I decided I loved the mystery of it. The myth. In fact, what if the poem wasn’t really sitting on her dashboard? Maybe there wasn’t even a Poem Store and she had just invented a story about poetry and paying in cupcakes to teach us about vulnerability.

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