Today’s prompt for the April PAD Challenge is to write a “visitor poem.” Like yesterday’s “communication poem” prompt, this one gives general direction but no specifics. I’m sure Robert Lee Brewer will throw in more specific prompts this month, too. Each type challenges my mind differently.
For today’s post, I thought back to last August, when photographers Michael Cooper, Matt Sawyer, and I went on a three day road trip from Tulsa, OK to Santa Fe, NM and back. The road trip has yielded several poems, one which will soon be published in Crosstimbers, but I still find myself looking back through the notes I took that weekend for more inspiration. This new poem finds us on a stop in Taos, NM.
We hit Taos in early afternoon, desperate
for coffee and wifi. The winding highway
leads directly into the central business district,
lined with adobe structures that I feel
are built for us, not the locals. We choose
a café abutting two gift shops that sell
turquoise trinkets and “Native American” art
and map our route to Santa Fe, along
the high road. Only the barista is
unadorned with a camera. We load film, leaving
behind three empty mugs and a little cash.
There’s something about where I choose to write that sets the mood of my writing. My most frequent writing venues are coffee shops, my front porch, and anywhere outside.
Shades of Brown Coffee and Art in Tulsa, OK
Coffee shops give me great noise. I like to watch people, listen to them, see if I can find out something about humanity. The challenge when writing at the coffee shop, or any other public place, is to not allow the noise that offers me so much fodder to distract me.
I am blessed to have a large, covered front porch. I like to sit out there (usually after my kids are in bed) with my friends, tobacco and alcohol. There’s something incredibly relaxing about ending my day in this writing locale. This is also where I do most of my editing.
Tulsa Skyline across the Arkansas River
There are many great places to sit outside and write. In Tulsa, the local parks and the river are great venues. This is where I usually write about nature. I observe the plants and animals around me and try to become one with them.