By MELANIE ELLIS
SANTA FE””Have you seen a varmint skulking around campus? Don’t be too quick to call up Security or go running down the halls like a little school girl. It’s only the homeless poet, Chuck Calabreze.
It’s curious how IAIA Professor Jon Davis and Chuck are never in the same room at the same time. Jon knows Chuck well, almost as well as he knows himself. It’s unknown how they met, but Chuck is at IAIA an awful lot, appearing at random and in different places. He is especially fond of creative writing classes.
Living on the streets, Chuck has had to overcome the rigorous difficulty of finding writing materials. He dumpster dives on a regular basis to keep himself in shape and to find interesting bits of cheese-burger wrappings to jot down his notes. On crumpled and over-folded scraps of found paper he writes his poetry and prose with First Bank pens.
“A lot of people think I’m homeless. I have a home, my parents just won’t let me back in,” says 40-year-old Chuck.
On Oct. 15, Chuck wandered into the Poetry Writing I class and relayed his poetic wisdom to the students in his gravely voice, wearing his out-dated biker gear.
He gave instructions for all of the students on how to write a “Breezy Poem” (like he was the instructor or something).
Ground rules of a “Breezy Poem” are:
Use ampersands throughout. When in doubt, change the subject. Avoid grandeur. Eschew hyperbole. Enjoy.
Rule number two of the twenty-six rule list, says to mention two strangers and describe them in detail.
One of the students, Sasha Lapointe writes in her untitled poem:
Because of their record player blaring loudly in the room over
my two obnoxious roommates keep me from sleep
I hear the crack of another aluminum beer can
their laughter and the same song,
over and over and over.
Rule number twenty of the long list states:
Return to the strangers. Begin line with “I swear.”
LaPointe continues to write:
I swear there is someone in the room over,
blasting the Dead Boys and drinking beer
they don’t have to wake up early
they don’t need a good night’s sleep
they don’t have to go to school or work
they don’t even exist
Poet at Large
Recently, Chuck has conned his way into traveling to Kearney, Neb., Nairobi, Kenya, and even to Durango, Colo. to present his words of wisdom to the outside world and anyone else within ear shot.
So the next time you see this vagabond, who is as stealthy as any cat, quick running like a rabbit and who is as mangy as any ”˜rez’ dog, know that it is just Chuck Calabreze, our own poet at large.
To see Chuck in action click here.
Copyright © IAIA CHRONICLE 2010