Poetry and Groceries Meet in Berkeley

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 311291

Here's a story I love about a man who has taken the low-tech, highly personal road to making people smile.

Berkeley, California is home to some terrific people like my fellow CyberStar® Ira Serkes. It's also home to Zach Houston, the Supermarket Poet. 

Book with Rose

Supermarket

 

The what? Yes, the Supermarket Poet. As you enter a busy supermarket, he'll ask, "Need a poem written while you shop?" Give him a topic and he'll write you a poem, either while you shop or while you wait. He doesn't have to worry about computer glitches or power outages; his poems are tapped out on a manual typewriter.

This is street performance with a difference – even he doesn't know what he will create until someone gives him their idea, and he'll do a poem about anything. When people like his poems, they give him a few dollars. On his best day he made $150, which for a poet of any kind is pretty good money. He's making a living, and he made it on to CBS Sunday Morning

Couple on MotorcycleSo what kind of poetry does he write?  One woman wanted a poem about affordable housing in Berkeley; we don't know what he did with that one. But a man asked for a poem about love and motorcycles. Zach's creation was: "We are two wheels, between us a machine, that keeps the concrete from touching our feet, taking the places to us on a machine, made of two pieces of each other." The guy loved it.

WordsworthWilliam Wordsworth, the English poet, once described a poet's work this way: "In common things that round us lie some random truths he can impart, the harvest of a quiet eye."

CBS' correspondent, John Blackstone, summed it up perfectly: "Now shoppers are harvesting the random truths of Zach Houston's quiet eye — and Houston figures he's getting his words' worth."

 

Active Rome

Comments (9)

Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

I love the way this young man found an outlet for his creativity.

Jun 18, 2007 04:25 AM
Jay Burnham
Coldwell Banker - Beverly, MA
The Coldwell Banker Guy

Margaret...What a nice story.  I wish we had a Supermarket Poet in Hamilton.  at least we have a Segway Realtor!

Regards...Jay

Jun 19, 2007 11:50 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Jay,

I liked this story when I saw in on TV. Now let's figure out how to get you and your segway on TV.

Jun 20, 2007 12:00 AM
Jay McGillicuddy
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Verani Realty - Exeter, NH
Real Estate Broker

I am no poet by any means but I did say to my wife Monika when we remodeled the Kitchen, I made you a new Kitchen now quit your Bitchen. Pretty clever as my helper with the Kitchen remodel has had poems published.

We did have a good laugh at it.

It's a treat to to listen to good poetry.

Jul 06, 2007 01:37 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Jay,

Thanks for the smile and thanks for stopping by! 

Jul 06, 2007 01:56 PM
Sharon Simms
Coastal Properties Group International - Christie's International - Saint Petersburg, FL
St. Petersburg FL - CRS CIPS CLHMS RSPS
When you mention Berkeley I always think of Ira (how's that for branding?) - now I can think of the poet as well. Where's the supermarket he frequents? Maybe I'll look him up at the Bloggers Conference.
Jul 07, 2007 11:16 AM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Sharon, The reason that I wrote this post was because of our own CyberStar (tm) Ira. Did you notice the link to his site? Branding is what is all about! 

 Zach Houston, the Berkeley supermarket poet. (CBS did not mention the name of the market.

Jul 07, 2007 02:36 PM
Anonymous
zach houston

im the supermarket poet

 

anybody want to buy a poem 

Sep 19, 2007 05:19 PM
#8
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome
Is your  name Zach?
Sep 19, 2007 11:04 PM