On November 5th, I was on a packed subway and I found poetry in an old man’s mouth. The following are not my own words – they are his.
74 year old man need help.
Live to be 74 years old and come back to find another man in your bed.
I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself right now. I need help.
I need help.
Need a psychiatrist on this train.
There ain’t nothing wrong with reaching out.
It hurts real bad.
It hurts real bad.
Come home find another nigger in bed with your wife.
It hurts really really bad.
71 year old man there getting up for you you lady.
If I were you I’d read the sign up there. Priority for people with disabilities.
Give him space. 71 year old man coming through. He’s getting off. Give him room.
Thank you for talking to me. God bless. God bless…
Not crush, I’m crumble.
I got a new word for it.
I’m not crushed. I’m crumble.
My mother and I often play Big Boggle (5X5 tiles, not 4X4), which, for those who don’t know, is a word game in which you have a limited amount of time and you have to write down as many words as possible. Since we got to be too good at it, we decided a couple years ago to limit ourselves to four-letter words, eliminating the endless and obligatory three-letter words that show up way too often and make the game repetitive (tea, eat, ate, rat, art, tar, pat, tap, apt, etc.)
Tonight, for whatever reason, this list I made seemed to work very well as a slightly sinister, possibly political (class and gender commentary?) poem. It wasn’t on purpose, but as I was reading the words out, it just seemed to work out that way. So, as you see above: my first ever piece of found poetry. Read it however you want – with the crossed out words or without, across or top to bottom, it works out somehow. I’m quite proud of the bizarre and happy accident (less happy about sharing my atrocious handwriting, but, there you go.)