“After a little bit of tweaking on the bus and a 5 hour wait, I get on the bus with reclining seats that are lightly coated with frost, a surprisingly clean restroom with toilet tissue, and enough room to have my own companion seat. This was very comforting for a polar bear like me. My eye started to feel irritated as the bus pulls away from the Greyhound station and onto the highway. Suddenly my mind, after being awake since leaving Buffalo, goes into rest mode where it reviews what has happened thus far on the poetry tour. I realize orange peels are humorous when suggested as a solution, sleeping under rain clouds makes you look inside the vastness of your own heart, and the meal your best friends send you off with can make you cry. Even now, I can still taste the sweet grease from the fried chicken and collard greens. I feel alone right now (and hungry) without my mp3 player. Good thing poetry is here, keeping me company.”
-Summer of ‘16
When it comes to poetry and road trips, poets from different generations have shared one common thought, “Do it while you still can.” [A road trip] can be very challenging, even when you aren’t traveling at the speed of light. Especially in today's world, we are used easy access to many things in life. But whether it's traveling from New Jersey to Texas or to the corner of your block, the speed in which poetry operates is that of a heartbeat. And that heartbeat usually matches the rate of broken white lines at 65 miles per hour. It is there in a humming unison of breath from body and road, three lines came to mind.
Know your companions. When you are stuck a metal box with other people, take advantage of the limited space and bring about an open heart to learn more about them. Poetry isn’t just the bond found between you and the topic at hand, but also the connection between one another. You will find that not only do you have an opportunity to get closer to your fellow poets, but also gain insight to their poetic process. While we walk our own poetic paths, we have a lot to learn from others.
Experiment with what you don't know. There is a whole hive of reasons how, but here's the three “be's” I found to be most helpful:
Absorb it all, but deal with it later. There will always be moments on a road trip where poetry is waiting to be acknowledged. Breathe it in. Better yet, live in it. Yes we want to write about it, but poetry seems better when we lived through it. Those moments (you will know when it is one) is real poetry.
On the road, poetry is the passenger. We are just driving it between the lines.
My blog's focus is to make poetry accessible.
Julio Montalvo Valentin is co-founder of Cringe Worthy Poets Collective and Just Poets of Rochester. He writes Semi-confessional, socially awkward poetry as an attempt to become immortal.