A travelling poet and a bagpiper in Balboa Park.

Today I met two cool people during my walk around Balboa Park. One is a travelling poet, the other a Scottish bagpiper.

The poet’s name is DJ Leary. You can find him online @wordsbydj.

Danny was perched in front of an old manual typewriter by the entrance to the Casa Del Prado Theater. Inspired words were pouring (pounding?) out from his fingertips for curious passersby. I peered over his shoulder at sudden lines of truth. We talked just a little. We shared some experiences. I could tell in an instant that Danny loves writing and life’s endless mystery.

I urge you to go here and read some of his poems.

The bagpiper is Frank Hunter. He’s a member of the House of Scotland Pipe Band. I met him while I was walking across the grass at the International Cottages.

Frank kindly introduced me to the bagpipes: their ancient origin, evolution and important role in history. He brought out his instrument, assembled it, tuned it, and performed. He told me about his own heritage and how the Highland Light Infantry is his family regiment. He had much to say, and all of it was immensely fascinating.

I’ve heard Frank playing bagpipes around Balboa Park before, and I urge visitors to the park to listen for their unmistakable voice. You will not be disappointed.

Balboa Park is full of amazing people.

Simply smile and say hello.

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I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

FOLLOWING THE WORDS of Quincy Troupe.

This morning I walked beside poetry. I followed a bright stream of playful words that were written in 2008 by Quincy Troupe.

FOLLOWING THE WORDS is poetry inscribed along the top of a low concrete wall. The wall stretches between The New Children’s Museum and their garden and playground.

To learn a little more about Quincy Troupe, and to see more photos of this small, joyful refuge in downtown San Diego, click here.

WORDS WALK A PATHWAY
INTO OUR MINDS, THEY JUMP QUICK
BEHIND A HOPPING
FROG, GUIDING US LIKE A SCOUT
INTO THE LANGUAGE WE BOP,
WORDS POP BIG AS EYES
OF FROGS, WHO HOP AND PLOP, BOP
THROUGH WORDS ZIG-ZAGGING
THROUGH SENTENCES, HOT AND COOL
AS FLIP-FLOPS KIDS ARE WEARING,
THEY ARE COLORFUL,
THESE WORDS THAT BLIP, BLOP AND PLOP,
UP AND DOWN THEY GO,
LIKE OUR SCOUT, THE HOPPING TOAD,
THERE HE GOES, JUMPING LIKE WORDS,
SOME HE TOTES INSIDE
A SACK ON HIS BACK, BOUNCING,
BROWN-GREEN AS HIS SKIN,
THESE WORDS ARE HEAVY
LOADS FOR TOADS SAME THING AS FROGS
TO CARRY, THESE KNOTS, ZIG-ZAGGING, COOL, WORDS, BOPPING,
SKIPPING ALONG, SKEEDADLING
ALONG THIS PATHWAY,
WE FOLLOW WORDS AS THEY HOP
BEHIND OUR SCOUT-TOAD
OR FROG, IF YOU LIKE THAT WORD,
FOLLOW THEM TO WHERE THEY END
INSIDE THE MUSEUM,
WHERE WORDS BECOME FREEDOM, ART,
MUSIC AND KNOWLEDGE,
POETRY, DANCING, BIG FUN,
HIP AS FLIP-FLOPS KIDS HAVE ON

COOL RAP, FLIP-FLOPPING,
WORDS THAT RATTAMATAT, JAZZ
ZIG-ZAG THROUGH VOICES,
CARRY CHOICES THROUGH TALKING,
SENTENCES SKEEDADLING, WORDS,
BRIGHT INSIDE KID’S MINDS,
MADE NEWS, ABOVE THEIR FUTURE,
A NEW SUN RISING
EACH MORNING NEW, AND WE CAN
TOUCH IT WHEN WE SPREAD OUR WINGS
AND FLY LIKE A BIRD
THROUGH OUR OWN MINDS, THROUGH OUR OWN
SKIES, INSIDE OUR MINDS,
WE CAN TOUCH MAGIC INSIDE
OUR OWN IMAGINATIONS,
TOUCH IT, THE MAGIC,
WATCH YOUR MIND GO FLYING
LIKE A BIRD, NOW, HIGH
UP IN THE BLUE, WATCH YOURSELF,
YOUR MIND SOAR, SKEEDADLING, NOW

SKEEDADLING VOICES
SHIMMY SHIMMY SHANGLE, BOP,
SASHAY, SKEEZOOZOO
THROUGH, HIP WORDS THEY HOP, POP,
AS RAINBOW CHILDREN PLOP, SHINE
IT’S PLAYTIME, SPARKLING
WITH LAUGHTER, SKEEDADLING LIKE
OCEAN WAVES DRUMMING,
A CHOIR OF BIRDS, SHOWERING
RAIN, SOFT AS CHILDREN’S FOOTSTEPS
CHILDREN’S FACES BLOOM
LIKE FLOWERS IN JUNE, DAZZLING,
SPARKLE LIKE TINKLING
WATERFALLS, RINSING, PURE SOUNDS,
BRIGHT ROSE PETALS ON THE GROUND,
YOU ARE YOUR OWN SONG
SINGING SWEET MUSIC, COLORS,
NOTES INSIDE LAUGHTER,
FREEDOM IS TIME, NOW,
YOU ARE LIVING IN YOURSELF
WHEN YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE,
THEIR FACES AGAINST
WHITE WALLS, ARE FLOWER PETALS
POPPING INTO ROOMS
OUT IN GREEN BUSHES
FROGS SERENADE THE MOON, SKY
AS CATS CHASE SHADOWS
YOU CAN TOUCH IT, TOUCH
IT, NOW, THROUGH YOUR POET’S PEN,
YOUR PAINTER’S BRUSHSTROKE,
THE SUN INSIDE YOUR MIND, TOO,
REACH IN, TOUCH IT, TOUCH IT NOW

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

That big bronze pelican in Pacific Beach!

That big bronze pelican standing by the Pacific Beach Lifeguard Station is one cool bird! His name is Pelican Brown.

Legend has it Pelican Brown was observed dancing at the ballroom that used to be located at the end of Crystal Pier. Dressed up in his best velvet vest, he danced the PB Tango!

This fun public art was created in 2004 for the City of San Diego by artists T.J. Dixon and James Nelson. A nearby plaque on the lifeguard station contains the poem The Ballad of P.B., which was written by Jan Phillips.

The amusing poem begins:

Pelican Brown was in search of a home
where he could have fun and relax.
He looked for a beach that was pretty
and a sea that was swimming with snacks.

He flew up and down the long coastline
looking both far and quite near.
Then, one day he knew he had found it
when his eyes saw the great Crystal Pier.

What happens next? Does the story have a happy ending?

Read the entire poem and learn more about the artists at the Project Pelican Brown web page, which you can visit by clicking here!

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I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Fun art outside The New Children’s Museum!

During my walk around downtown yesterday morning, I wandered past The New Children’s Museum. My camera immediately took aim at the 1950s Dodge pickup Flower Truck out on the Paint Patio. Kids have applied so many coats of paint to the museum’s current Painted Object that the vintage truck appears to be covered with dripped candle wax!

I also enjoyed looking at the long, rainbow-like SMILE mural on the museum’s entrance bridge, painted by street artist Paola Villaseñor, who signs her work PANCA. Her urban artwork, which is usually more “adult” and grotesque, can be found in both Tijuana and San Diego.

Those words on a low wall bordering the museum’s playground and The Garden Project are part of FOLLOWING THE WORDS, poetry by Quincy Troupe, professor emeritus at the University of California, San Diego.

In late 2014 I posted photos of the small garden and other lines of the linguistically lip-lively poem here.

Perhaps one day I’ll photograph the entire long poem!

Section of SMILE, by artist PANCA. The fun 48-foot-long mural decorates the bridge leading to the entrance of The New Children's Museum.
Section of SMILE, by artist PANCA. The fun 48-foot-long mural decorates the bridge leading to the entrance of The New Children’s Museum.
YOU ARE YOUR OWN SONG
YOU ARE YOUR OWN SONG
HIP AS FLIP-FLOPS KIDS HAVE ON
HIP AS FLIP-FLOPS KIDS HAVE ON

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

US National Beat Poet Laureate in Balboa Park!

Chris Vannoy, US National Beat Poet Laureate 2018-2019, reads live poetry in the Zoro Garden during the Garden Theatre Festival in Balboa Park.
Chris Vannoy, US National Beat Poet Laureate 2018-2019, reads live poetry in the Zoro Garden during the Garden Theatre Festival in Balboa Park.

Tomorrow you have a chance to hear US National Beat Poet Laureate 2018-2019, Chris Vannoy, read live poetry in Balboa Park! He’ll be performing with local poetry group The Mightier P.E.N.S. (Poetic Expeditionary Nation of Semanticists) in the Zoro Garden beginning at 2 pm.

Today during my extensive walk through Balboa Park, I happened to stumble upon this summer’s weekend Garden Theatre Festival. As I entered the stony, amphitheater-like Zoro Garden, live poetry readings were underway. Everyone in the audience was invited up to the microphone to read poetry!

And wouldn’t you know it, I was fortunate to enjoy several readings by Chris Vannoy, who will soon be named the United States Beat Poet Laureate by the National Beat Poetry Foundation!

I’d heard Chris perform with The Mightier P. E. N. S. a couple years ago, and blogged about that event here.

His hard-hitting beat poetry is vivid and resonant. His words are like the many butterflies that flit through the garden–bright sparks in the sunlight–burning red hot for just a moment–each a revelation–a brief glimpse of something elemental. Delicate words, transient words, an incantation of power spoken briefly into the wind.

Congratulations to a local poet whose voice is now magnified! And whose smile appears to be indomitable!

The Garden Theatre Festival continues through Sunday August 19, 2018. Live performances are enjoyed free to the public in Balboa Park's Zoro Garden.
The Garden Theatre Festival continues through Sunday August 19, 2018. Live performances are enjoyed free to the public in Balboa Park’s Zoro Garden.
Chris Vannoy of the local poetry group The Mightier P.E.N.S. expresses thought and emotion with vigorous words as the audience listens and reacts.
Chris Vannoy of the San Diego poetry group The Mightier P.E.N.S. expresses complex thought and emotion with vigorous words as the audience listens and reacts.
Two in the audience listen to powerfully spoken truth.
Two in the audience listen to a poet’s powerfully spoken truth.
Someone in the audience signs up to read a poem. Anybody could participate during the event.
Someone in the audience signs up to read a poem. Anybody could participate during the event.
Chris Vannoy, who will be named US National Beat Poet Laureate in September, finishes and earns enthusiastic applause.
Chris Vannoy, who will be named US National Beat Poet Laureate in September, finishes his reading and earns enthusiastic applause.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

That moment you see inexplicable magic.

There are moments when this world seems suddenly, inexplicably transformed.

New light.

New perception.

New understanding.

A short story came to me yesterday while I sat in Balboa Park across from a splashing fountain. My eyes were resting on the broad scene.

So many people, engaged in every sort of activity. So much humanity. And at the center of it all, that everlasting fountain.

Shimmering and shining like magic.

I took out my pen and wrote down a few inspired words.

They might form a short story, or they might form a poem–I’ll let you decide. Read it here.

A street art poem about coming home.

A bit of wisdom by poet Sunny Rey painted on a utility box in City Heights. True Love is a returning...A homecoming...Love awakes the child in you...
A bit of wisdom by poet Sunny Rey painted on a utility box in City Heights. True Love is a returning…A homecoming…Love awakes the child in you…And walks you through your final door…

I read touching words this morning during a short walk down University Avenue in City Heights. A poem was painted on one side of a utility box; images of a father and son’s love decorated other sides.

The beautiful street art and its poem were about growing older, and wiser, and coming home.

Street art in City Heights on University Avenue shows a father and son holding hands, walking down the sidewalk.
Street art in City Heights on University Avenue shows a father and son holding hands, walking down the sidewalk.

I’ve finished writing another short story. A Steep Hill is about an old man who undertakes very difficult journeys near his home. If you like, you can read it here.