Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Found poetry April 15, 2019

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A POET FRIEND COLLECTS found poetry.

Larry Gavin’s most recent found poem, read recently at a Cannon Valley Poets Poetry Reading at the Paradise Center for the Arts in Faribault, caused the audience to burst into laughter. He read a short “looking for work poem” collected from a public space. The poster sought babysitting jobs, but stated she’d rather pick rock. Alright then. A potential babysitter who prefers rocks to children is unlikely to get hired by any parent.

Like Larry, I find publicly posted messages interesting and often humorous. Unlike Larry, I’d never considered those notes as poetry. But I understand why he views them as such.

Inspired by my poet friend, I’ve upped my public message board reading, something I’ve done only irregularly in the past. I was quickly rewarded with a unique note tacked onto a bulletin board at the Salvation Army Thrift Store in Owatonna.

 

 

I snapped a photo with my smartphone and then edited out the phone number.

The note inspired me to write this poem:

Missing

She rocks—the cool blonde
with hair sculpted in a do,
stripe ribboned across locks,
eyes shaded behind sunglasses
like Jackie O.
Call if you see her.
She’s missing.
Last seen at the Salvation Army Thrift Store.

 

TELL ME: Do you read publicly posted messages like Larry and me? If yes, please share an interesting/humorous/bizarre one you’ve spotted.

© Copyright 2019 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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What’s the point of this message from Blue Point? June 28, 2018

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SOMETIMES I WONDER, what don’t I understand? What am I not getting here?

 

 

Isn’t it obvious that when you want to drink a bottle of beer, you need to twist or pop off the cap?

 

 

Maybe it’s an attempt at creative and memorable marketing via humor. That must be the reason New York-based Blue Point Brewing prints Please Remove Bottle Cap Before Drinking on a bottle neck label. Website content convinces me this may be the case. I’m not amused by some of the words published there. But then I’m not a New York brewer.

 

 

Now take a turn. Tell me why you think Please Remove Bottle Cap Before Drinking is printed on Blue Point bottles. Or tell me about an off-the-wall message you’ve read on a label or on packaging.

© Copyright 2018 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

A cross on my carpet August 7, 2016

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LIKE ME, I’M CERTAIN you’ve had those moments when you’ve stopped, halted by an unexpected scene.

That happened shortly before 9 a.m. Friday as I passed through the living room toward my home office. I noticed shafts of sunlight slanting across the beige carpet in front of the La-Z-Boy recliner.

 

Cross on carpet 004 - Copy

 

The house had been dark and shuttered for days due to high heat and humidity. But on this blessedly cool early August morning, the windows and front interior door were flung wide, though the drapes were still partially-closed. Through those gaps and openings, the bright morning sun angled a cross onto the floor.

I stood there for a moment taking in the scene before grabbing my camera from my office. I needed to document this, to visually imprint the comfort I felt in seeing that cross—a reminder for me of my Christian faith and the hope I have in Christ. He is always with me. In difficult times and in joyful times.

Not every sermon comes from the pulpit. On this beautiful morning, a message came in slants of sunshine upon my carpet.

FYI: Click here to listen to my current favorite Christian song. Eye of the Storm, by Ryan Stevenson.

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

Rural gratitude December 1, 2014

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ON THANKSGIVING MORNING, between Zumbrota and Pine Island along U.S. Highway 52, I spotted this message:

 

Thank a farmer, along US Hwy 52

 

And I thought how good that this farmer would remind us of his labor, of the crops he grows and the animals he raises, and of the food that sustains us.

Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling