Last weekend’s inaugural CHALK LINES was a modest success, with the (mainly baffled) patrons of Il Lido watching poetry in motion while they ate their lunch.
The event was in celebration of National Poetry Week. I wrote my own original poetry on different surfaces all over the restaurant and the footpath outside. I wondered if I might find out first-hand what the local laws about street art are, but the po-po never made an appearance. One Cottesloe resident did tell me he would put me under citizen’s arrest for vandalism, but he was quickly appeased when I included his dog Daisy in the poetry-art.
I spent the perfect spring weather scribbling all over the restaurant with chalk pens and sidewalk chalk, and dropping cards of poetry on the tables. Most popular was the poem ‘What Is She’ scrawled across the white tiled walls of the ladies’ toilets. Everyone likes something to read in the bathroom, after all.
It was gratifying to have people approach me and start passionate conversations about poetry. One kind gent even bought me lunch to “support the arts”. ART DOES PAY! He drove past later and recited a poem out the window of his car. What a champ. I also had the joy of watching a couple walk along the footpath reading a line from one of my poems to each other.
The staff were equally supportive, encouraging me to write on the windows and passing along feedback from customers. Il Lido is fast becoming one of my favourite spots in Perth, and not just because of its support of poetry; the view is unchangingly gorgeous, the food is mouthwatering, and the whole establishment has a fine appreciation for its place within the community and Cottesloe’s history. It has a very comfortable atmosphere.
The only black spot in my sunshiny weekend was the fact that I misspelled “poetry” in one of my chalkings. Luckily there were plenty of eagle-eyed passers-by keen to notify me. What helpful souls.
LONG LIVE POETRY.