Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Accidental Artwork

On my morning walk recently, on a day shoplifted from August, I was traversing a grassy field with some boulders in its middle, half reveling in the dew making a mess of my shoes and half anxious over having just polished them. Getting closer to the rocks, I found two Starbucks cups perched there, leaning against each other, their lids kissing.

Picking one up with the intention of carrying it and its mate to the nearest trash can, I noticed that it was half full. For some reason this caused me to stop, laugh, and take a step back.

Here was a "found poem" as good as any I could remember. If only most modern art had half as much whimsy.

I wanted to take a picture, but I didn't have a camera. I wanted to use my cell phone--this is exactly why they put cameras on phones--but I didn't have that either.

Then I remembered what the guide in Kenya with the smile bigger than his waist had said: "Sometimes it is best to take a picture with your mind. That way, you can have it with you whenever you wish."

And so I did.

And off I went to the workaday world--the chattering computers, the brooding coffee-maker, the cool white walls and putty file cabinets, the conditioned air--where so many things are so stultifyingly predictable, the little incongruities so often overlooked or banished.

And I carried with me that picture as a reminder that if even Starbucks cups, even litter, can kindle laughter and exhilaration, there may be no need to shuffle off this modern coil after all.


  1. Here! Here! or is it Hear! Hear! I'm never quite sure.

    One of the nice things about being human is that we'll see a pattern in just about anything.

  2. Litter as life-saving comedy? Well, I agree with A.H. Do you suppose squirrels, for example, are as easily satisfied? Or crows, famous for their game-playing and fascination with shiny objects?

    You also might be interested to HEAR HERE that Brenda's Arizona thinks this post has at least a little to do with Stevens' "Anecdote of the Jar." I do believe she's onto something. It's on yesterday's Banjo52.

  3. The balm for office culture? Like the jar the cups give us a vantage point, I can see that. Nicely done, and I'm always wandering off getting my shoes wet in the dew and I'm always conflicted about it.

  4. Thanks for the comment, Paula (and Banjo and AH).

    I love Mason jars, but somehow, after nearly twenty years with that poem, I'd never visualized that. Thanks for the image.