Miami has been in serious need of a poetry revival ever since Vanilla Ice went rolling in his 5.0, with his rag-top down so his hair could blow. And if 2 Fast, 2 Furious has taught us anything, it's that there's no quicker way to Miamians' hearts and minds than through a flashy car. So the busy bodies over at O, Miami HQ are getting vehicular in their mission to expose the entire county to rad rhymes.
As part of the month-long festival, poet Dave Landsberger will use a megaphone to shout poetry whilst sitting in a Ferrari 360 Spider Convertible. Just for us, he's selected five Miami locales in dire need of some shouted poetry - places that beg to have poems written about them or recited within their space.
At this poetry reading on wheels, which takes place on April 27,
Landsberger will read his own verse as well as poets like Pablo Neruda,
Elizabeth Bishop, David Berman, James Wright, and Walt Whitman. The
mash-up of car culture and Leaves of Grass is so nuts/genius, the poetry
project recently got The New Yorker's attention.
And if you ask us, the key targets for this audible onslaught of verse
would be the entire city. If we were the badasses we pretend to be, we'd rig
every ice cream truck and mitzvah mobile to blare Neruda's "We Are
Many" on repeat:
Of the many men whom I am, whom we are,
I cannot settle on a single one.
They are lost to me under the cover of clothing
They have departed for another city.
When everything seems to be set
to show me off as a man of intelligence,
the fool I keep concealed on my person
takes over my talk and occupies my mouth.
On other occasions, I am dozing in the midst
of people of some distinction,
and when I summon my courageous self,
a coward completely unknown to me
swaddles my poor skeleton
in a thousand tiny reservations.
When a stately home bursts into flames,
instead of the fireman I summon,
an arsonist bursts on the scene,
and he is I. There is nothing I can do.
What must I do to distinguish myself?
How can I put myself together?
With the above poetry blitz too ambitious, however, Landsberger has suggested
five Miami locales that are in dire need of some poetry. Here they are:
The Dueling Frita Joints
El Rey del Las Fritas and El Mago de Las Fritas in Little Havana really
deserve some sort of epic poem to be written about them. I'd imagine it
as a battle between the King and the Magician, delivered as an accordion
duel, written in a terza rima a la Dante's Inferno. Who would win? I'd
have to give it to the O.G., El Rey. Who doesn't want to have fritas,
jugo de pina, and watch Sabado Gigante on a 57" flatscreen with the
cartoon happy go lucky king looking down on you?
163rd St (North Dade) - The entire street.
Starting at the Golden Glades interchange, going past the Jamaican soul
food restaurants, wig stores, hatters, a Wal-Mart the size of an
aircraft carrier, the best comic shop in Miami - Villains, Solid Gold,
Opa Locka State Park, all the way to the speed trap in Sunny Isles and
the wall of condominiums that blocks the ocean...nothing says Miami like
163rd. It needs an ode oh so badly.
Bayshore Municipal Golf Course on Miami Beach (27th & Prairie Ave)
A transformation occurs hour by hour at this place. In the morning,
there are some golfers out, mostly just practicing their drives because
the putting greens are so ill kept, in the afternoon its a stretch of
sunbathing and skateboarding Miami High Schoolers, at night its an
unofficial dog park overloaded with unleashed pups scrunching on sea
grape leaves, and at late night the homeless crawl into the banyan trees
to catch some zzz's. It belongs to everybody. To time lapse a poem over
a day here would be really interesting.
Miami Jai Alai
The upstairs VIP area is where it's at. Find the secret elevator (if you
dare) and enjoy the plush purple couches. I have no idea how exactly
Jai-Alai works...I know its is a mix of handball and horse racing, but
that's one of the beautiful parts of watching it, inventing your own
rules. There must be some poem, somewhere, about Jai-Alai, so I think it
may be best to just leave this one alone and let it be. Don't read
poems in it, just go there and be inspired.
Larry and Penny Thompson Park
If you go to the Miami Zoo and look anywhere near the south end, like
the Kudu, you'll notice that behind the exhibit is a vast stretch of
uninhabited land. That stretch of African looking land is actually Larry
and Penny Thompson Park. There are oodles of undiscovered trails, and
if you hike in far enough, you can actually see the zoo animals. Go in
far enough and you can find your own Henry David Thoreau...with African
Of course, luxury mobiles like Ferraris don't come cheap. Landsberger is
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raising the funds to rent the Italian ride via Kickstarter. Watch below: