First Class Journey

Giselle and Cameron small

Here’s a piece of mail art I made that has taken the journey through the postal system and arrived safely. I recycled an advertising card that came to me in the mail, and I painted and collaged it, and gave it a caption.

The mail is important to me – the kind of mail, I mean, that you hold in your hand and put into a mailbox in front of your house, or on the street. I sent and received many letters in the past – the long-distance telephone was expensive and I always felt under pressure to get the points covered in my conversation and hang up. So my mail correspondence was very important to me. Opening the mailbox and seeing familiar handwriting on an envelope addressed to me – it never lost that thrill, anticipating the words of someone important to me, seeing their handwriting, imagining them in their own place, far away from me.

Now I communicate with the phone and email and even when I do get letters, it’s not the same feeling. The scarcity of opportunity to communicate is just not there anymore. But – I have been filling that gap with mail art for some time now, and so my mailbox still offers me surprises. And I mail out a lot of items myself, of course, so I still have quite an acquaintance with mail boxes.

There’s the background on why I wrote this poem. It’s recent, and I thought I would include it today, since we are having a blustery cold morning like the one that inspired me.

January Transaction

So I grabbed the handle
jerked open the door of the mailbox
Screech rattle bang
I could feel all of that
cold chipped blue painted metal
all at once
right through my glove
Swung my arm around
opened my fingers
dropped the letter through and let go
The door slammed back and bounced
clatter clang jangle
I winced
Anyone could hear that racket
a mile away
A crust of snow dropped off the box
struck my foot
it hurt.
I guess the letter hit bottom
during all of this commotion
that little piece of paper
shivering in its thin envelope
down there in the cold dark
maybe a crack of light up here
at the lid
The mailman comes at eleven

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