First Shot at Text Poetry

by G.T.

     For this text poetry project, I’ve decided to go down my Contacts List alphabetically. If I randomly selected people, I may feel the urge to give preference to those that I feel comfortable texting, and leave all of the bastards and assholes for another day. This way, doing it alphabetically, I must send everyone a poem, no exceptions. At four o’clock this morning, I gave it my first shot, and sent the first three contacts a text poem. Here is a backstory about each person, how I know them, and their responses.

     Aaron K. (815) – This guy joined my fraternity, Delta Tau Delta, shortly after I did. I wasn’t attending school when he joined, so he was little more than an acquaintance. He’s from the suburbs and sort of had that suburban demeanor about him. A couple of years ago, he shaved the sides of his head and then took the shaver down the middle of his head, giving himself something of a double mohawk. I thought the haircut looked herendous. Here’s the poem I decided to send him.

“Fool for the city,
you mistaken a
new haircut for a
new perspective on
life. Where did a
double faux-hawk get
you other than to the
wrong stop on
the Red Line?”

10:38am Aaron: “Who is this again?”

I knew that this would eventually happen, but I wasn’t expecting it so soon. I was laying in bed, having just woken, and didn’t know how to respond. I had this idea: rather than reveal my true identity, I’ll create an identity that suggests how the two of us came to know each other.

10:45am Me: “Pi Sigma Beta”

10:50am Aaron: “Doesn’t ring any bells”

10:52am Me: “Poet Soul Brother.”

Aaron never responded after that.

Adam K. (815) – I went to high school with Adam. A good guy, and once, back in school, I was logged onto Facebook and one of my gay brothers happened to see Adam’s profile photo. He thought he was cute, and asked me if Adam was gay. I said that I didn’t know. Never really came to mind. My frat brother had later contacted Adam, via AIM, posing as me, and asked him if he is gay. He didn’t offer an answer, according to my brother, but a friend from high school had once told me that he is. Whether he is or not, it doesn’t matter to me. I have my opinion, but I don’t feel that I should say what I think, since the truth is still unknown. However, I though it would make an interesting theme for my poem. Quick notes on Adam: used to work at an Italian restaurant and travelled to Russia a while back.

“In academia it would
never matter. But in the
Small town, Italian diner
kitchen, it did. A truth concealed,
maybe confessed in a Red world
away, but not here.”

9:55am Adam: “eloquent. Giovan’s? hah…”

Maybe he understood. He got the Italian restaurant reference, at least. The Russia part may have been too obscure, but I’ve only got 160 characters per text, people. Gimme a break.

Amanda M. (630) – Amanda was a close friend of mine in college. We were both architecture students, but our desires weren’t truly architecture, as we both found out. The last time I saw her, we snuck into one of the architecture buildings during non-class hours. She led me into the basement and showed me drawers and cupboards that were filled with decades old blueprints and drafts. Relics of IIT and Chicago seemingly lost and forgotten over the years. I haven’t seen or spoken to Amanda since.

“Basement hall, show you pal
where they hide dusty first drafts.
This school showed me nothing
but the beauty of two friends who
found their passions elsewhere.”

10:59am Amanda: “Whaa? im confused, but hows it going george? we havent talked in forever.”

11:02am Me: “Remember when we looked at those old drafts in the basement of that building across from Crown Hall?”

11:04am Amanda: “Ooh yeah.so many strange compartments to IIT.i havent been there in awhile.it puts a bad taste in my mouth.were you there?and what are you up to these days?”

11:08am Me: “No. My social life is boring, so instead of hanging out with people, I’m texting poetic verses to everyone on my contacts list. I’m doing much better than usual”

Amanda and I continued our conversation. She’s still pursuing photography, as I am pursuing a life in writing. We may get together sometime soon to catch up on our lives. And that’s where I found out that this text poetry project could turn out to be beneficial. I’m only three contacts in, and I’ve already rekindled one long lost friendship.

Here’s why I want to do this project alphabetically; tomorrow’s set of three includes one person who I never intended to speak to again. A girl who was the other half of what was one of the worst dates of my life. That will be tomorrow, though.