ludlow st.

nyc 2004

10¢ Poetry

there was a young woman who was a muralist. she moved to new york city with dreams of becoming a great painter. a professor with a big nose in a tall building said that her paintings would only make good kids' books. she put down her brushes. then, while living in an attic in the lower east side. someone heard her singing. they said go to an open mic. She thought, that's strange, mics are on or off! she went and they clapped. She made handbills for her shows. on them she printed poetry. they cost 10¢. this is how she became the ten cent poet. 

she played every night in new york city. at the sidewalk cafe and at bar matchless in brooklyn. she had a kid's guitar that her brother, james, gave her. she liked playing for friendly people. she felt less alone when she sang songs. she met another songwriter and fell in love. his name was steve waitt. he had a scary, brown kidnapper van and a baby grand that they slept under. sometimes she would sit on the bench while he played. she went on her first tour with steve to europe. they sang aretha franklin songs in a meow voice under the eiffel tower and ate waffel things in the snow. they were gypsies. in another life they made medicine.

Play 'Night Time Moonshine'

The Rainbow Racer

after the great tour, going back to the nyc made her sad. she flew to florida with a broken heart and worked on a flower farm and saved up her money and bought the rainbow racer. The rainbow racer drover her to over thousands of shows in the southeast. the rainbow racer helper her make good friends like calvin woodum. she stashed cash under the dashboard. in asheville, nc, she met a woman named melissa who taught her the chords on the guitar. melissa played the cello and said that they could play music all of the time and not have to have a boss. they were like sisters.

the muralist now songwriter sang and sang. she loved sparkly things but did not buy diamonds. she did not buy new shoes or cigarettes or tattoos. she did not buy champagne or handbags. she bought an old house. she wouldn't have to live in an attic or a car or with her parents. she could have flowers and neighbors and a front porch to watch the hummingbirds land on the branches. she could drive her rainbow car to penland and she did. she took her stringed instruments and went to meet robert mueller. she hadn't drawn pictures in ten years and she was nervous.


she missed color but she had so many songs in her head. she chose a desk overlooking the mountains. in the mornings she would go to the printmaking studio and write in her song book. she would play songs when professor mueller pulled prints out of the old press. he liked this. she began to make drawings for her songs. this was easy because the songs came from stories and stories have pictures. now she sings while she draws. there is color and sound and poetry and it doesn't matter how it comes out or in what order. it is all a leaning into life.

© 2017 designed and illustrated by Chelsea Lynn LaBate