Steve Mullen: Found poetry

March 18, 2009

Steve Mullen - [email protected]


There is a certain poetry about Columbus -- literally. 


Writers are among us, in places you wouldn''t expect, recording bits of everyday life. 


Take Marquet McBride, who moved here from Memphis not long ago, but has family here. A spoken-word poet, he''s looking to bring slam-poetry sessions to Columbus. 


McBride walked into the Princess one evening, and asked the few people there if he could recite something. What followed was completely unexpected -- and heartfelt: 




Too many stomachs are rumbling world wide 


In many cases it is death by starvation 


Most would turn a blind eye 


Political leaders worldwide see the situation got the resources and not trying 


It is the citizens in society with loving hearts and open minds hustling hard to get it like it need to be 


Precise with movement 


Taking the right steps contributing 


They can''t lose and there is no being fidgety 


Because genuine love and sacrifice cover plenty ground especially when tummies are empty 


Initiative along with participation makes a huge difference 


It''s clear as day to those with good intentions 


Because we know that the less fortunate need us in this system 


That is bleeding by being greedy continuing to dismiss them 


Sad though true it is what it is 


Especially with the kids 


We can only imagine the strain on them from malnutrition 


Along with the suffering with the pain on them 


Deep inside they got to be pleading for assistance 


Too weak to speak it 


Too confused to hint it 


While they sit back deal with it 


Waiting patiently for relief 


Allowing there eyes to unleash a thousand words times ten with no speech 


Our hearts should feel sorrow behind watching the essence of neglect ion 


It only increases the pressure and stress on the next one 


It is what it is especially with the kids 


Generations are passing away 


Unless this change millions more can expect the same




Further down Fifth Street, you might run into Pash Crabbe. A bartender at the Elbow Room, Crabbe keeps a journal, and when business is slow he writes poetry, song lyrics, and poetic observances about life. 


He shared his journal with me. One piece stood out -- his haunting observation of a homeless person: 




There''s a man outside staring at his feet. I can''t help but wonder what he could be thinking. Could he be wondering how he came to be there, perhaps going over every scuff and stain remembering how they came to be. 


For instance, the small tear near the heel of the left shoe, outlined with that distinctive brown stain that dyed white leather acquires when blood has been allowed to dry. 


Or maybe he is recounting the many miles he must have traveled in order to wear down the soles and cause the little threads, binding the shoe together, to deteriorate into the frayed mess at which he now stares.




Every Starbucks in Los Angeles is full of budding screenwriters, pounding away on laptops. In Nashville, you''d expect lots of songwriters to come out of the woodwork. But Columbus?  


Why not? 


A great thing about Mississippi is an inherent urge among its people to observe and record and create. Look at all the great writers and artists the state has produced. But while we celebrate the known, many more unknown writers are just below the surface, observing and creating in the most unlikely places.  


We only have to stop, and listen. 


Steve Mullen is managing editor of The Dispatch. E-mail him at [email protected]

Steve Mullen is Managing Editor of The Dispatch.