Quite a bit of pottery with my poetry on it is now available for purchase in the ‘local poets’ section of Dan Peccia’s Poetry-Pottery shelf. Although it will probably only go out one piece at a time. The shelf is located at 2115 SE 48th Ave. For a small donation, you can take home whichever piece calls out to you. Some pieces have words from classic poets like William Carlos Williams or Richard Brautigan. Others have stuff from shmucks like me. It’s well worth a visit. I stumbled upon the shelf for the first time in the darkness late at night. I had been heading home from work on the #14 and I was exhausted. I completely spaced on my stop and rode the bus an extra twenty five blocks east past my own stop and south quite a ways. So I just got off the bus as soon as I realized it and started zig zagging my way toward my apartment. Thinking that the day could not have been more uninspiring, I trudged along the sidewalk in the darkness trying to make my way back home. I was wondering why I have to work so many hours with such a long commute for my stupid income when all I want to do is read and write poetry. And then suddenly Dan’s shelf was in my face.
It was this remarkable turn of events to be in such a downtrodden and uninspired place and then to suddenly be thrust “in the way of beauty” (Wild). From the darkness of night into these colors and textures and words, all the beauty and brightness suddenly overtook my entire field of vision and forcefully rushed into my pitiful heart. I feverishly read the words on each piece and stared at each unique blend of colors, patterns and glazes. I would not have been able to decide on a piece had a certain one not suddenly jumped out at me (I’ll share that one another day…). I put my money in the hole and carried my plate the whole twenty plus blocks back to my apartment in my arms, with a new burst of energy, gratitude, and a new sense of the wonder in the world. I will never forget my first poetry-pottery experience.
I have also gotten to create a first experience of Dan’s work for quite a few other people in subsequent weeks, since Dan and I struck up a friendship and started collaborating. I’ve been taking home a little pottery each time we hang out, and have made a habit of giving it away on my walk home. One cool experience was when I suddenly felt hungry while approaching Hawthorne and stopped at an awesome little hotdog joint/bar called Zach’s Shack. While waiting to order my food I noticed that the man next to me also seemed to be seeking out a hot dog unaccompanied. So I struck up a conversation with him and we got a table together. Before long, I pulled a set of salt and pepper shakers Dan had made out of my pocket and my new friend Evan, who I learned is from a band called Robokchoy, commented on how cool they were. So then I started pulling pieces of out of my bag and he just seemed so deeply appreciative of my merely showing him this stuff that I insisted he keep one of the plates. I also gave him the address of Dan’s shelf and I believe he stopped by it that same night and picked something else up.
There was also the time on Division that I saw two old men, one of them was black, the other was white, and both were highly weather-worn. They were crouched down on the corner smoking cigarettes and shooting the breeze. My arm was aching from the heavy bag I was holding, so I set it down a moment and listened to their cheerful, goofy banter. Then I asked the man who turned out to be named Mr. Jones if he wanted some pottery. He said, of course! I sat down next to him and his friend. We were on sidewalk. Mr. Jones also traded me his lighter for a cigarette. I would have just given him the cigarette, but he suggested we make it an even trade. I gave him a little Heartstump bowl. He looked at it closely and told me about a friend of his who works in a flower shop. Then he stood up suddenly in front of his friend and me, as if to make a performance and started riffing about love–about giving it freely, and about nobody needing to judge one another. He seemed also to dance a little jig while he did. My eyes were wide and I was completely enraptured, crouched down on the grounded looking up at him, so tall and energetic and grand. Mr. Jones ended his riff with a graceful 360 turn on his heels. As he came to a stop facing me, he bowed like a gentleman, while unfolding his arm,and then his hand, toward me. To reveal a little stone. He said,
“This is for you, my dear.”
What an effect a
bit of art can have on this
dreary little world.