I met the Poem Elf at Kiko's while working. She saw my poems displayed and then shyly mentioned her project: she hides poems she loves all over her Mid-western city.
She told me, "I just want to get poems out of books."
I know exactly what she means- to reinsert them in public spaces where, I imagine, people who wouldn't dream of opening a poetry book may stumble upon them.
She told me, "I'm not a poet. I'm a lover of poetry."
She makes physical copies of poems and plants them in grocery store carts, under rocks or between fence railings, then she snaps a photo and posts it.
Here's how she describes it: "Poem Elf was born out of two inclinations: I like poems and I like secret tricks. The mystery of a poem and elfin mischief come together as I loiter about until I can post these poems in secret around my mid-western city and wherever else I may be."
As a nod to her and also a reflection back on my own life, I'm doing the same on Kauai. My first poem secreting was on the Westside. The crease in this little Short Order Poem is from being in my pocket. These little cards are available at Kiko or you can just ask me and I'll mail you one.
While my husband paddled Kalapaki to Poipu, I strolled a labyrinth at Mahaulapu. The rugged terrain, Trade Winds and meditative walk between the stones restored my peace; I had been in a real funk. When I 'd get like this as a kid (entitled, bored and cranky) my mom would tell me to go do something nice for someone. And she was right. She is right. Self-absorption is toxic and one powerful remedy is through service to others.
A few weeks passed and the Poem Elf sent me a photo of my poem. I hadn't yet conveyed my intent to copycat her and am thrilled she stumbled upon it while still visiting Kauai.
On our way back to the Eastside, my husband and I always refuel at Kauai Coffee, where they offer free samples. I tucked one of my favorite poems in a table.
A peak into my history: back in the 90s I wrote a proposal for "The Pixie Handbook," which is about doing secret good deeds. I failed to find a publisher, but after a 20 year nap, I feel my pixie-self waking up and am happy to reimagine a new version of the idea here in the form of poems.
If you are a fan of secret deeds check out the French film, "Amalie." I'm pretty sure this is where my friend Kimberly and I conceived of doing "pixies."
Thank you for dropping by.
PoFoDo is a blog of poetry, food and dogs. Next up is the Fo piece, so stay tuned by joining the mailing list. There is no "Newsletter" per se, hopefully just a brief alert to let you know of new posts.
Now go do something kind without being caught.
I dare you.