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It must be quite an honor to have one of your poems selected for a poetry plaque on the Berkeley Poetry Walk. Ron Silliman said somewhere that it (his inclusion on the walk) is one of the most memorable and satisfying honors he has received. One problem that arises, however, is keeping these tributes clean and unobstructed. Since I am a Berkeley graduate student with little money, I would like to offer my cleaning services for a small fee to be discussed at a later date. If you are either a poet on this Poetry Walk or the follower of such a poet (For a list of all the poets, please consult the Addison St. Anthology), you may be interested in the following services.


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We should not expect crud and grime to have discrimminating taste. I will brighten up your plaque by scrubbing it with some lemon water and some good old elbow grease.
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Talk about making litter out of the literati. I will sweep away all leaves, cigarette butts, and trash to allow your words to breathe.
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Now this is just an utter lack of respect. I will not only remove these trash/recycling cans from your plaque but also have a good talking to with the obviously uneducated (at least aesthetically so) low level employees who placed them there. I will let them know that they OUGHT to respect your poem, that they OUGHT to admire your poetry.
In addition to all of these services, I will also arrange to have a reading of your work during the cleaning. This of course is extra and would require an extra fee. If you are interested, contact me and I'll give you the specs.

Originally Published: November 17th, 2008

Javier O. Huerta's debut collection Some Clarifications y otros poemas (Arte Publico 2007) received the 31st Chicano/Latino Literary Prize from UC Irvine. He is also the author of American Copia (2012). A graduate of the Bilingual MFA Program at UT El Paso, Huerta is currently a PhD student in the...

  1. November 17, 2008
     Former Berkeley Girl

    This was hilarious and made my morning!

  2. November 17, 2008
     Don Share

    "The trashman's can is special..."
    Ron Silliman, "Jones," the Alphabet.

  3. November 17, 2008
     Jasper

    Hey Javier,
    Excellent post. Truly hilarious.
    I believe, though, that those plaques covered with torn papers and trash bins are what we call, in the university, literary criticism. . .

  4. November 17, 2008
     Kristen

    Even better than the trash is when there's construction on the street and certain plaques end up getting covered by Port-O-Potties...now that is literary criticism!

  5. November 18, 2008
     Daisy Fried

    maybe you should take a more extortionate approach. ie, If you don't pay me to keep your plaque clear, [fill in blank with icky substances] will end up defacing your plaque.
    Daisy