Great Day at the Gazebo!

Hi all,

Today David and I did our Great Day presentation at the Gazebo.  We were supposed to do a “tour” of certain locations on campus, but the weather prevented us from doing this.  Instead, we stayed sheltered beneath the Gazebo where David and I performed our pieces inspired by the campus.  Here is mine: 

Geneseo feeds me.

One night last fall, a friend of mine told me to meet him here.
It was 2 am but something about that first weekend back
had crept into my conscious and left me wide awake.
I walked up the hill letting the hem of my pants soak up water like tree roots.
The rain soaked through my crop top and my belly button filled with three drops of water and I contemplated all the different ways Geneseo feeds me.

When I first stepped on this campus I had an overwhelming feeling that I belonged. That my body and this location were somehow connected,
that I was supposed to be planted here.

The valley has become my cradle.
It juts out below me like the crease of an open book
I close my eyes and imagine myself tracing my fingers over its’ pages
the white space between the lines encase fields where my running shoes have left my anxiety.

If you look just over Monroe Hall you’ll see the sidewalk I stumbled home drunk on.
I have made pit stops along the way to lay on the grass and gap at the white dots in the sky because even intoxicated me knows you can’t see the stars when you live on Long Island.

If you turn around and face the hill up to Main Street, you can see the place where I took a picture of my best friend sticking his tongue out at me.
The trees were covered in little pink flowers and his tan skin stood out stark against the light colored sky.
He’s serving in Korea, but vows to come back to this zip code and invade my house on Thanksgivings.
If you walk past Lauderdale to the end of Franklin Ave, you’ll see where I fell in my velvet boots. I still have pink patches of skin where I scraped my knees.
The careless uprooting made me feel like a kid again.

But spending 3 years here has made me realize I am no longer a kid.
I have done things I never thought I was capable of
Opened myself up to new sisters,
to boys that sometimes fell for me,
and boys that sometimes didn’t.

I sprout poems like cherry blossoms and drop them everywhere.
I used to think I would wilt away but now I can’t seem to stop growing.
There are still days where I still wake up with crippling anxiety but I know that in this soil I am safe.

My parents keep asking me why I never call home anymore,
and the answer is that I’ve found home here.


While I was aiming for this to be a slam piece, I feel like it isn’t emotionally charged to meet that criteria.  For now it’s just my “Geneseo poem.”

I am honestly shocked at how many people showed up to me and David’s presentation.  There were around 15 people there, and some of them were willing to share.  I think this presentation was a great opportunity for those who don’t often write poetry to be given the chance to write it.  While there some familiar faces crowding the Gazebo benches, there were certainly some people I have never met before.

Overall, I really enjoyed using Geneseo as a source of poetry.  I definitely will be looking to do this again in the future.



One Reply to “Great Day at the Gazebo!”

  1. Hey Ari!

    Sad I missed your workshop and presentation. It’s really tricky for me to use towns as sources, because I never know where to start. But you interweaved these moments really well, and made it seem pretty darn easy.

    I really love the way you used Geneseo as a source in this poem, specifically as a geographic source. It’s really really visceral. I love how you connected landscapes to where your feet have been (or have fallen) and viewing places as vessels of our college memories.

    Oh, and those last two lines are just great.

    This post has inspired me to write my own poem using Geneseo as a source. Thank you for sharing!

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