Monday, April 14, 2008

HE WAS A POET

Wild hair ablaze, he sat. Leaning against a tree in Central Park, he raised his head daydreaming. It was a lovely Saturday afternoon. Carter had just purchased a new package of ball point pens and fresh pad of perforated edged, college ruled paper. He was not sure why he had bought them. Gazing at the sky, words formed in the clouds. Without one glance, his hand began to write what he saw. This was all so new to him. He had never done something like this before.

Carter wondered if this was something he could do often. He decided to try other destinations. He took the trains, rode his bike, walked, roller bladed, rode in a taxi, took a carriage ride, and even joined some tourists in a sail boat heading towards the sunset. He walked along the Brooklyn Bridge and stopped in the middle. Just before sunset, he watched as all the lights in Manhattan came alive. The city that never sleeps, was vibrating with dancing letters that formed into words. Once again, his hand doing the work for him. He stood amazed, as each word he saw on each light turned on, was written. They were in the sky, along buildings and totem poles. Words formed from the names of restaurants and tiny shops. Bars and night clubs cascading with colorful jargon.

Work came every Monday, and Carter had to keep his mind focused. It was very difficult, but he somehow managed to get through each day and maintain his work load. Some days he would extend his lunch hour and still be sitting at his desk. He could see words everywhere. On his desk, on the train, in a person’s smile walking by, and in every avenue he walked. He found himself writing vigorously on his coffee cup, the newspaper, little post-its, and his notepad had filled completely before he knew it. On the weekends, he would spend every waking moment gathering all those scattered writings in a new notebook.

Carter had become so consumed, several months had gone by in a blink. He found himself in front of Bethesda Fountain on a Sunday morning. The angel, Bethesda, was looking at him. He sat down for a moment; his head blank. What had happened? All his pens had were out of ink too. He was blocked. He looked at Bethesda in wonderment. Bewildered and distraught, he became upset that he could not see her story. He wanted to write her words.

Two years had passed. Carter had published a book of his writings. To his surprise, these words had become poems. Poems of every place he had been to in Manhattan. Every word dripping with honey and pride for the land he had come to know and love in his heart. He had titled it, “He Was A Poet”. When asked why he chose this title, he would explain that he could no longer write. The gift he had been given seemed to have left or taken a vacation. Carter still saw Bethesda in his mind. He would not visit her, fearing the lack and ultimate dread caused from having no words to write for her.

One year later, Carter sat in his seat at the National Poetry Award ceremony. His book had climbed by leaps and bounds through time. It had become a bestseller and won him a great many awards. His name was about to be called to give his acceptance speech for yet, another award. Confidently, he walked to the stand.

Preparing himself, he cleared his throat and pulled out his notes. Carter looked to the crowd. His glance shifted and he realized where he was. Grasping for a pen unknowingly, his hand began to write again. Over his note cards, words were pouring out rapidly. The audience looked at him as if he were crazy. Some sat there mystified or disgruntled. One tried tugging at Carters jacket to get his attention, whispering for him to begin. After a few moments, heads turned to see what he was awestruck by. There, stood Bethesda. Basking in all her glory and love. All Carter could see, were her words.

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