For our first unit in our ‘Counterculture’ class, the assignment was to create our own shout-out or invocation poem. The project of an invocation poem usually involves calling attention to the little things, or aspects of everyday life that sometimes are purposefully ignored. This poem was the first I’ve ever written and I can truthfully say that it has opened a window for me to something I never thought I would consider doing to pass the time; poetry! Hope you enjoy!
We live for that moment on the train
When the drunk homeless man
Giving you the dead pan
Lets his gruff voice creak
And begins to speak
Mumbling something and everyone laughs
And you feel a connection to those around you
And you feel so profound
As your insane thoughts dance around
You look at the people on the train
Wonder their names
Who are they?
Why are they here?
Who placed them so near?
What do they fear?
If you voice these thoughts, you know you’ll sound weird.
But you can’t help wondering what they’ve done before
What they’re sorry for.
So this one’s for them.
That drunken homeless man, and the strong smell of alcohol emanating from him
The middle-aged businessman,
And his briefcase
And his unnecessary, official looking umbrella
The rebelliously artsy young girl rocking the purple skirt and funky glasses
Probably on her way to art school, dreading her classes
For the man who clutches his bicycle close to him
And for the eyes, squinting angrily,
Frustrated by his use of space
But the eyes look up when the smelly man cracks his thoughtless joke
And laughter invokes
For that moment
When you get out of your head
And everyone in your small train car is connected
You appear as an extra in all of their lives
But you never know
They might be thinking about you, too…
I received some of my writing inspiration from discussing the topic of counterculture with passersby. I really enjoyed my conversations with them because they said some very surprising and interesting things that I didn’t expect to hear from strangers I’d never spoken to before. For example, I spoke briefly with a woman in her 20’s who explained that she would vote for new laws that wouldn’t necessarily benefit her lifestyle and wellbeing as an individual, but if the law was a benefit for society and the general public she’d be willing to vote for it. When asked, the example she provided for me was the legalization of marijuana. She seemed confident in herself and in all of her answers.
I’m glad I had the opportunity to speak with these different people with different beliefs. It gave me a secondary perspective and made me think about opinions I previously had, some of which I thought about while creating my slam poem.