On this morning’s commute there was a guy named Blue selling CDs and books of his poetry.
I was interested because I have this love-hate relationship with poetry.
I asked the author if he was going to read.
He said “No because he” (a nearby passenger) “might not like it.”
So Blue handed me a copy of the book and said I could check it out.
They were very short pieces, 1 – 2 lines each, a mix of joking and though-provoking. Kind of like John Lennon’s In His Own Write.
But there was one that didn’t make sense to me.
Children should never
accept candy from stranglers
(Except on Halloween)
At first I didn’t notice, the word was stranglers not strangers.
And then I had to wonder if it was a typo or artistic choice.
If it’s a joke, the first joke trips over the second joke. (I know about this stuff. I’m a comedy writer.)
It was a Wednesday morning commuting mystery.
Before you read any further, come to your own conclusion.
Ready? Okay, continue….
I asked my fellow passengers what they thought. The guy sitting next to me explained it was a pun. The woman next to me believed it was a typo and said I should not tell him.
For the next minute we debated whether or not it was intentional, agreeing that “it works both ways.”
Then the poet himself showed up, wanting to know what’s up.
I said “We were just discussing the Halloween poem.”
“Yeah, there’s a typo in there.”
“We were just saying it works both ways.”
He said “Yeah, somebody told me I should add parentheses around the r.”
Meaning it should say st(r)anglers or strangle(r)s ?
Before I could ask, I had to get off the train.
But it doesn’t matter. What matters is that one guy got three strangers (not a typo) talking about poetry at 9 o’clock in the morning. And that’s wonderful in so many ways. It makes me grateful to live in New York City where your share space and thoughts with people you’d never normally talk to.
For more of Blue’s poetry, go to his website.
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