The Reason For Red Pillows During Improv Street Poetry: Revolutionary ConTEXTing Poem

During Vashon’s First Friday Art Walk, it’s not uncommon to see street musicians and artists on the city streets, busking for money from passers-by. Vashon Island has a unique, creative character (including bumperstickers that read: “Keep Vashon Poetic” and “Keep Vashon Weird”).
CyranoWriter David Kuhns street performance poetry at Vashon Island (WA) 1st Friday Art WalkDuring the August, 2010 First Friday Art Walk, I decided Vashon would be a great place to try “improv street performance poetry”, so, tip hat, red pillow, and signs in hand, I set up on a street corner and proceeded to spend two hours busking … doing street poetry. Usually the poems started with “Because this is Vashon/I can stand on the street/and invent funny rhymes/about the people I meet.” And then I’d go on to comment about the day, what they were doing, how they were dressed, etc.
The best responses came from families with children — they seemed to laugh the loudest when my Dr. Seussian poetry “hit home”.
And someone asked me about why I stood on a red pillow. There was no reason, really, (other than to say “Here is where the poet stands”), so I thought I’d make one up!

Red pillows/
protect feet/
when improv words flow/
from my mouth/
2 the street./
Unlike rhymes from fingertips,/
noise of lips/
can thud.

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