Community Generated Poem for Get Lucky: The Culture of Chance

For the opening reception of Get Lucky: The Culture of Chance, A.P. Sullivan constructed and performed a poem in two hours by anonymously collecting the thoughts and reactions of attendees to the surrounding artwork. Below you will find the resulting poem.


Chance is a bull’s eye everywhere;
luck needs a keel, mast, and sail.
One requires deep thought and the other
doesn’t to end up in New Hampshire.

I found myself at a beach
unexpectedly and happily – luck is
the reflection of grace back to you – grace is
elegance, a fortunate paper accident that smiles
too beautifully, a learning

to read underwater.
What is this?  What?  I don’t get this!
I left the financial times in my pocket
and washed my pants; I disassembled
a boat, reassembled a boat, lacquered.
What is this?  What?  I don’t get this
big fat happy illusion love is.
Is luck chance?
Is grace deliberate?

I could live without grace, morph into
a smaller format, my video images responding
to frequencies, volume, decay.
Then I’d wake up.

Then I woke up;
I woke up next to Terry.
Luck is Terry.
Luck is earned;
Luck is divine justice.
Luck is fortune cookie wallpaper.
Luck is a catalyst, a curious circumstance.
Luck is the space, light, whale oil, a dilly dally,
is the universal chasm, is catching a cab in San Francisco.

What is this?  What?  I don’t get this!
My life is driven by chance.
I tried to ask it once and it stopped
talking to me for 4 minutes and 33 seconds
ending up with something I never knew
I wanted, a cat in a room full of rocking chairs.
You don’t get the former by chance

or the exquisite corpses that have no wine.
What is this?  What?  I don’t get this!
It’s edible: the address of SOMARTS
and my guilt.
Look at Meeeeeeeee: Yo-Yo Ma playing

the “Memory Web.”  He had random people use a point
shot camera and two times a week he would page them
with a time and coordinates on a compass.

So they called it lint and preserved it
in steel case boxes.  Karen did something like this,
only better.  She climbed into the reflection
of the boat.

The text finally capsized, fluff by fluff.
I was as lucky as a god with a loose tooth.
I was as luck as John Cage at the Fortune Tellers.

Sullivan is a poet and teacher living near Sacramento, California. For the past eight years, he has taught courses to adults in creative process and poetry writing, while concurrently teaching high school Humanities at the Sacramento Waldorf School.  In 2002, he completed M.A. in English (Creative Writing) at California State University, Sacramento, and in 1990, earned a B.A. in English and Anthropology from the University of Notre Dame.  He has lived and worked in Mexico and Australia.

Besides writing and teaching, he counts epistemology, interventionist art, and soccer as major interests.  In 2004, Poet’s Corner Press published his first chapbook of poems, Islands of Earshot.  His poems have appeared or will be appearing in Salt Hill, New York Quarterly, and The Literary Review, among various others.  In 2006, he founded the Waste And Vice Elimination Squad, a rapid-response garbage mitigation collective, more commonly known as a community service club, for high school students at the Sacramento Waldorf School.  More recently, he has designed and facilitated the creation of community generated poems for art exhibitions, an Earth Day festival, and a New Year’s resolution mapping project.  He and his wife, Megan, have two daughters, Rosa and Lily.