There is a book of poetry I pull off the shelf from time to time when I want to feel inspired. The book is "It Is Daylight" by Arda Collins.
In 2010-11 I lived in Denver and loved visiting Tattered Cover Bookstore on Colfax. You know you'll find something special on every visit.
I remember standing in the poetry section scanning the shelves for something interesting to jump out at me. Just now I tried to recall the funny thing that happened in that moment. But all I could recall was the feeling, not the specifics. So I just went to Facebook and went back to 2011 in the timeline and finally found what I wrote on that day, March 4th.
Today at the bookstore in the poetry section a man was sitting cross-legged on the floor reading a collection of poems, and I was standing beside him and pulled a book from the shelf and another book came loose with it and fell on the man's lap. I apologized until the sun went down, and he smiled and said, "it's ok really, I'm not hurt" and we smiled and I whispered, "death by poetry" and we giggled quietly together.
I wonder what the man is doing today, nine years later. I'm here reading the book I pulled from the shelf that caused that other book to land in his lap. I hope he's still reading poetry. I still vividly remember reading "It Is Daylight" for the first time after getting it that day at Tattered Cover. I took it with me on my flight to Orange County, CA the following Monday. That's when I was traveling every week between Denver and Orange County for work, and it was before I was an e-reader fan, so I would have at least one book on hand for the flights.
I started to read the poems, and each one was a revelation. I found myself making tiny gasps and ah-has and OMGs and I was just so in love with each and every line that tears were streaming down my face. The 7am business commuter flight was full of business suits and straight-faced serious looking folks and here I was happily crying over a book of poetry. Many of the lines still come into focus in my mind even when I haven't picked up the book in months. Here is one...
"I could not decide which way to walk around and approach the table for the best outcome."
I mean, who writes like that? Who THINKS like that? I love love love it. I feel like I have those moments where an insignificant action or decision, like navigating a room in my house, could influence an outcome in some unexpected way.
Here is another line that paints such a beautifully vivid image...
"He sleeps on his back with his hands folded demurely, waiting to be exported by great forces."
How did that line come to the poet? What inspired her to write "exported by great forces" when she thought about how he looked or seemed as he lay there?
The melted butter line is another fantastic one.
I feel like each and every poem in this book should be given the spotlight. But here's just one more that comes to me time and again...
"...you might think to yourself, 'I'm at onion,' or, 'I'm in onion today.'"
Sometimes when I sit down to write, I try to channel my inner Arda Collins from this book. It gives me something to aspire to. And I am forever grateful to the universe for leading me to "It Is Daylight" that March day in Denver.