The truth is I’m not a huge fan of social media, but one of its gifts (and it has plenty) is connecting with people I never would have found otherwise, and this includes other writers and their work. Their inspirations have begun to change my writing.
It was because of a particular poem I found on Twitter that when I was in Yellow Springs, Ohio (the birthplace of all things magical) two weeks ago, I went into the bookstore I love, Sam & Eddie’s Open Books, and asked Sam to order Ariel Francisco's latest collection: All My Heroes Are Broke (C&R Press). She also pointed me to Neil Hilborn's Our Numbered Days, which I purchased, too.
My Ohio week was one I spent waking up at the crack of dawn, making my way downtown to the best coffee shop in the world (the Emporium), and sitting at my favorite table to write before most of the village got up, too. (I was trying to finish a poetry collection by April 1, and I am happy to report that I did). Ariel's book and Neil's turned out to be good companions for my writing journey.
But I digress just a little. The particular poem I found on Twitter—the one that started this whole story—was Ariel Francisco's "For the Man Pushing His Mixtape on the Corner of Biscayne and 167th" (newly published in CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing and reprinted here with the author's permission).
This poem hasn't stopped grabbing my attention.
If you want to listen to someone reading this poem to you, here is the wonderful Robert McCready, a.k.a. @myspecialmagic, doing exactly that.
Among Ariel Francisco’s many talents are his humor and his ability to take a seemingly small moment and give it significance. I'm also a fan of snappy titles (some of my favorites of his: "And on the 7th Day God Said: 'You Made it, Bro'" and, from All My Heroes Are Broke, "The Young Men Along the Bar Are Too Tired Even to Die").
His work inspired me to write about a seemingly small moment while I was in Ohio and to show its significance, and I titled the work (a line from the piece), “Katy Perry Is Crooning and Won’t Stop Just Because I Did.” I’m not sure if I would have titled the piece that way before reading Ariel’s and Neil's work.
This is the beauty of reading widely: it expands your own boxes.
Thank you, Ariel, for letting me and Robert McCready show off your poetry, and thank you for the inspiration.
You can hear other great poems read by Robert on his YouTube Chanel: Magic City Poetry.
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