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100 Thousand Poets for Change — Just Poet Members at work!

Your light is never hidden…


Some of you may have been following the 100 Thousand poets for change

and received an email of Dwain Wilder’s letter (go to the site below,


click on the side bar of countries, pick United States, then click on New York, then click Brockport).  As you know he and Karla Merrifield are the Editors of Liberty’s Vigil, published by Foothills in January and so, it is not surprising that they continue their work on the 100 Thousand poets for change website. Paulette Schwartzfager is also one of our strong activist poets and joined Dwain Wilder in planning events that could happen locally. He took the initiative of contacting Joe Hoffman at Lift Bridge Books in Brockport who cleared with local authorities, a day of scribing poetry on the sidewalk.

Today, September 28, four Just Poets put Dwain’s idea of “chalk talk” into action.  Dwain, Karla, Colleen Powderly and I met at Java Junction in Brockport, across the street from Lift Bridge to brainstorm how to engage people in the chalk-it-up happening.  Dwain’s metaphor was the “house”, where each person gathers, each poet taking a room for their conceit.  From there, it was a logical leap to think: room=stanza=block of pavement on the sidewalk and imagine how we would collaborate.  To continue with the “house”, what is harder to understand are the paths into and out of the house.  Is the reader to come to the poem, or the poem to go out to the reader encountering it?  How does one stimulate a passer-by to consider participating?

An hour later, after swapping ideas, passing the S&P for eggs, which launched a discussion of A&P, it became clear we were four poets with four definite “rooms”.

We clarified the goal:  engage people.  Colleen brought up the idea that what we need today is a new way out.  Karla then started a riff, “out of…” followed by a series of nouns, I proposed that we each take a section of pavement and write our own idea, then go to  respond to other’s sections. Dwain brought out colored chalk, and we sallied forth.

Did we stick to a specific plan?  Did we draw up a blueprint of themes? Did we even do what we thought we would do?   No, no and no.  As the writing started, the ideas flowed and responses triggered thoughts, and more responses.  A policeman came by and asked us, “Are you sure you are doing what you are supposed to be doing?”

Two-year old Aeris, dressed in lavender joined in with purple scribbles next to Colleen’s “How can you not sea change”; 4 year old Oliver Porter Fox signed his name with a big blue O, and a series of l’s next to “if you think a period is fun to pock on the sidewalk, try an ellipsis” duly noted by kj to quote klm and near our “acronym” filler for “water.

W                                                                                                        (We are taking every dRop)









W                                                                                                        (We all thirst…)

Underneath, Dwain continued, “We all gave it away for pennies made of gas.”

Many people stopped by, reading, some shared affirmations saying “this is cool”. Papa Z, with his eatery next door to Lift Bridge told us to come warm up with coffee.

Of course, not everybody approved, and one man bellowed, “why don’t you just start another civil war?” But that was the exception.  You have never not done what are you here to do, wrote Dwain, Yet, continued Karla. 

You never know where a word will lead… One word draws another I wrote, followed by 3 blank lines, Now, wrote Karla. 

As we invited people to join us, most were politely shy.   One girl with her arms crossed, watched, as Dwain wrote for her : “Unfold your arms and begin your voice”.

Karla took pictures of the poems which are posted on the JP facebook page.  (go to facebook and google Just Poets).

Anything can happen. Who is the poet?  “Can you show me your skin?  Not the one you wear, not the one you own, not the one you pay with!  You know you!  (AKA, the Poet!)the bill player, the one who worries at night, juggling symbols and numbers, the magician, who makes life work

one of the 100 waiting with three open spaces.


Kitty Jospé



One Response

  1. I don’t know who this goes to or who sees it, but that is so NEAT! (and yet, NOT so neat ; )

    and I love the impermanence of the chalk – it reminds me of what my husband reminded me of the other day ‘You Can’t Take It With You’.

    and in a hundred years what will remain of my ______? Who knows, but the largess will be uncarved in stone.

    Michele ~ Lizzie

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