I’m My Own Knight in Shining Armor

I generally don’t have a tough time shining a light on myself, but there was definitely something unnerving about posting my poetry all over town.

Poetry_3It was a writing practice, most of all, as first I’d have to actually write something, but it was also the ultimate test of self-assuredness: Releasing an intimate piece of myself out into the world and not being able to control or even know how it was received – like swimming in the iddle of a dark, vast ocean, not knowing what might be lurking, or like being an amateur porn star, not knowing who in your life might see your …. I think you get the point – and maintaining a healthy sense of self anyway. Not with the flick of an ego-driven “just don’t give a fuck,” but with an open heart to potential judgment and yet an unwavering willingness to have your own back.

It’s not necessary to whip out your entire soul and flaunt it everywhere you go just to test this, but on the other hand, restraining and hiding parts of yourself out of fear of judgment is an exercise in d
ying. I want to live – and nothing personal, but not for you and your opinion of me.

Most of my best writing comes in a flash, so, despite having ignored her for awhile, I grabbed ahold of my muse next came she around and fervently wrote things down before they escaped without record. I probably should dote on my babies a bit more, coddle and nurture them, but I’m just not that kind of girl. I let my words hang loose on a page, and that’s usually pretty close to the final version. Here and there, I dawdle on finding the perfect word and placement, but it’s more or less exactly what came out of me in the first place.

I typed up three recent poems I wrote, and attached my name (no backing out of this now!) and the 52 adventures URL. I knew I had to pick a place where a lot of people I know could see them – otherwise, where’s the challenge? – so I chose to post them in Central Square, close to my place of work. I went to Kim’s office in Kendall Square one Saturday evening and we sat around talking while we printed out copies of our words. When we were done, we swung our jackets around our bodies, zipped up, and drove over to Central.

We parked behind what used to be the Enormous Room and now is Brick and Mortar at around 9:30pm. In a last-minute act of brilliance, we had realized before we left that we needed a way to hang everything up, so we brought heavy-duty packing tape and a stapler. The stapler was of absolutely no use, so we had to make the packing tape work. I hastily pulled some tape off the wheel, and it promptly stuck to itself, as it so likes to do. I pulled again with satisfying success, then started to rip off a piece with my fingers. But it stubbornly refused to budgPoetry_3e, aside from collapsing in a sticky heap, so Kim and I frantically started to look for ways to break if off, having fallen short in our brilliance to bring scissors or anything obvious to cut it with. Meanwhile, people walking around in Central started to stare at the scene we were making as we laughed at our ridiculous attempts to post paper to a light post, the light at the top of which was shining down on us like a suspicious cop who’s just come across some highly questionable shenanigans.

I finally found a sharp key after rummaging around in my teal Mary Poppins bag, and pulled it out happily, and with a sigh of relief too. I sawed the piece of tape with my key-saw and finally got the first poem up! Yes, we’re in business!
Poetry 2

Kim and I proceeded to post our floppy white papers up and down Mass Ave. from Central proper to the edge of MIT campus like Jehovah’s witnesses on a mission, covering lamp posts, cross-walk signals, bus stops, trees, electrical boxes, building fronts, you name it, until we ran out of writing to post. We had planned to sit down at Zuzu for a drink after and possibly catch a glimpse of any reactions the copies right outside might spur, but it was packed, just like every other place, it seemed. By the time our fingers were numb, we settled on the Asgard Pub and started warming up with a celebratory drink. Eh, we laughed and cheered, they’ll get ripped down within 24 hours anyway!

Poetry_1

About 60 hours later, I drove down Mass Ave. on my way to work, waiting to take a right onto Albany St., toward the parking garage. I saw it immediately, before I even pulled up to the light, out of the corner of my eye. One of my poems, bright white against the dull, slate lamppost on the corner, shining like its the goddamned sun, like its a flashing neon sign purposely calling attention to itself. For a second, I started to panic, hoping to command the paper with my mind to just tone it down a notch, dude, Jesus H. But before I could even start to talk my ego out of this panic, I involuntarily broke into a self-satisfied smile.

Adventure No. 4, check and check.

#1

“The power of a good idea

Sets the edge of my lips on a curve

Unravels the mysteries of life

Before my eyes

I thought I gave you everything I had

But then I remembered

I have some magic stuffed under my mattress”

 

#2

“Words are like weights,

Heavy with power

Striking sharp like swords

Upon the hour

They can taste sweet

Or they can cut sour

They flower

Through cracks in the street

From nothing but thine own self

They shower down upon your lovers and your enemies

Your lies wreak havoc

Your truth heals wounds

Like unexpected heavenly croons”

 

#3

“Throwing all my crutches into the pyre

I’m my own knight in shining armor”

 

-Alissa Mallinson

Advertisements