Ithaca Fest 2014 Crowd Sourced Poem - Audio & Text

June 10, 2014

On May 24th, 2014, WSKG visited Ithaca Fest to answer a simple question:

What would happen if everyone in Ithaca was invited to write one little piece of a poem about Ithaca.

Inspired by the festival's mission to 'find the artist in everyone' and 2014's "Rhythm & Rhyme" theme, WSKG turned to festival poet Alex Chertok and asked if he could help set up some boundaries and guidelines for such a poem. Alex suggested we mlpoy the exquisite corpse technique, inviting everyone to contribute one piece, but only allowing each person to see the line before theirs.

Here's what resulted...

The sun, bright as if bottled in basswood honey
Where your weirdness is your most valuable form of money,
You might consider further transactions. Barters or trades. Calmness or tirades?
capitalists or pirates
it maters not, beauty is in the eye of the beholder

And we dance like no one’s watching
To any rhythm you want
And fall deeply below my threshold for love
Where the pansy blossoms spill onto the roadway
I think a lemon tree is going to grow in my mouth.

Love the sense of people loving trees
I would write my fingers
Raw with sunlit yearning

Fun place to be!
What? My girlfriend just hugged a tree?!
All that’s missing are the horses.

I milked the cows and the mail man fell out, delivering news of a baby blue, her name was the sky! On the fourth of july she was shot from the ground and the crowd of loud mouths screamed and strangled their found fathers that freed them from the natural order of all that should please them so instead of the sky there are buildings that sigh with invented lives of skin bags that die!

And the stars filled the eyes of the children and bats fluttered to the rhythm of the winds

Tongues! Tongues! He says I always write of stars and tongues! Ah, the poetry of bats—and foxes flying….

…and an uncommon Commons,
gorgeous love!  gorges love!
hipster love!  hippie love!
love, love, love!

spring green of thousand colors ,
flowers in the air,
smiles on children’s faces

The day passes without a care!
Sunshine, waffles and smoothies galore
A beautiful paradise for all ages to adore!

And the corpse said, “Exqusite!”

Colorful and funiful, glad it’s May again
The students gone; the town’s our own!
Although they think they own it too,
We own our homes; they owe their loans.

Release Leonard
Flying on the wind higher than a feather…
It’s a community get Get together!

As we trail along on the journey of our life
Let’s get together and celebrate one another.

The person said I’m sleepy.

Downtown is smoky today.
The weather is magnificent today and downtown is blooming with awesomeness.
But everything else is a mess
Yet still we transcend duress
But more love is always the answer
No matter the place let your heart expand, sir
It is worth the risk to grow each day.

My horses name is skeleton.
I’m dying… is it blissful… it’s like a dream… I want to dream.
A restless sleep… a recurring nightmare… Wake me
The beagle wakes suddenly and looks out the window.
He considers a rabbit eating a dandilion
He’d much rather eat an ice cream

And hope
that he doesn’t wake up and it’s all just a dream
Ithaca is the REAL life
Ithaca is a place away from strife
Ithaca is the way to go
And no one can disturb its flow!

This is my first and biggest and best festival ever!
Feasting on festive festivities frees festering feelings.
It’s fabulous to frolic through the crowds of friendly folks.
And the fabulously frolicking folks toke dope and try not to choke the smoke.

And the grueling winter,
like a rude dinner guest who outstays his welcome
and leaves without saying goodbye.

He could have at least finished his beer

Under the beautiful new york sun
He plotted some Fingers lakes fun
The sail of his boat wafted in the summer breeze with a rainbow of colors filling the twilight
Until the sky looked like the messy end of a dinner plate

Just like that day when Greg and Katie came to visit
That’s when sun and moon began to lose distinction, for you
And then you cried the waters around you

And laughed the sunshine that warmed all from outside
Let all who enter live fulfilled

Waves swell in amber sunset
Naeem & Naleigha was in Ithaca

Cool breezes in the woods
I will taste them on my tongue, numbering each individually

Creatures of habit under the willows of self-doubt seek shelter here
All return to the shores of Cayuga and the embrace of our comforting hills

I like living downtown.
Heartbeats pulsing together in harmony and in chaos
Drumbeats, jangles, and crowd jumbles

We could dance together for a moment or into infinity
On the commons, anything but common.
They love vegetables but they don’t eat salmon
Can you blame them?

This is Ithaca…..just don’t shame them!

out of the ordinary, I see people everywhere
makes me want to write a poem on this day
all the joyful spirits that dance together as we ride around the sun in our glorious Ithaca

sunlight reflecting off buildings, musicians, Volvos, and Subarus
Hippies and geniuses and summer interns too
A pocket of idealism sheltered by two hills
Prism of seasons and natural thrills
You don’t always need 4 wheels to chill


Ithaca is gorges, and we’ll never forget it
Smiling faces behind tye-dyed t-shirts
Gente hablando en español con sus amigos

And my little dog is getting attention for wearing a festival button
I don ‘t care, it don’t mean nuttin’
That dog is bad, he be struttin’

Meanwhile, she sees
The man her friends said was a fool
She agrees but feels a little flutter anyway

In the wilderness of her dream last night the subway platform held dust. It rose above the buildings.
Hovering over the city, bathing it in golden light.
energy of festival, the spirit
of the night.

I ate too much and man am I tired!
Lots of people and lots of music!
My spirit is rejuvenated by the energy of the crowd

Connected like constellations, conversations right in line with time
In this moment, the storm of the mind goes calm and we are one with all.

Look around, look
around many interesting people and things to be found.

Beautiful singing, beautiful children, beautiful colors, balloons in the air
and joyous feelings everywhere.

Ithaca energy is hard to beat, positive vibes in everyone you meet
Ithaca, full of color and design, so inspirational and fine. 

A place that forces you to slow down, so that past and future give way to the present.
nourishing the soul of the people

Ithaca is a paradise

Ithaca is a place that inspires everyone to be themselves to live love and laugh
Tilting towards the tremulous trees
Love on a leash or love unleashed

Leading to osprey dancing together overhead, the sky, the lake, the waves of waving water and grass.
The locals taking it in
Appreciating the surrounding simplicity and beauty non-competitive and relaxed

& relaxed but
gosh here in line all I
see is the non-competitive beauty
in front of me, & a poof of clouds—

Pathos and Paradox wax, and wane while Ithaca remains in same.
And grows each and everyday like the trees that reach to the sky

Under the moon and under the sun,
Ithacans know how to share in the fun

Whether it’s at the Ithaca Festival,
or with the music of Grassroots, there’s an aura that can’t compare.
The same love for our earth as our ancestors before us
And even new generations awaken everyday,
and instead of remaining asleep,
dream of new dreams for a better world,

scream of new ice creams for a butter world
where butter is better and people write letters
where consciousness flows, and you’ll never forget it.

Or unless you WANT to forget it!
But THEN you will NEVER forget it because you now desire
Within the land of a clock and two towers there lies a realm with thousands of powers
Powers and posies with a million migflosies

Wildflowers, waters flowing, like wind in hair, wild and free.
And gorges high, trees proud, for all of us to see.

Splendor so beautiful,
thanks to our God Almighty!