Gorilla Art & Poetry Foiled!

Flowering Crab

I like to alter postcards people send me from their vacation spot.  I collage over the picture, adding some paradox, and I paste something interesting over the address.  I either leave the message or alter it by crossing out words to create a poem or I type a poem – mine or another’s – and paste it over the message.  Then I stick the postcard in books I return to the library.  The card masquerades as a bookmark or is recognized as Gorilla Art & Poetry to those in the know.

Today I got a call from the library.  It was a library in a small town nearby.  We are part of a large system that encompasses perhaps a quarter of the state.  The fellow said they had found a postcard in a book I’d returned that belonged to his library and he wondered whether I wanted it back.  I was so taken by surprise I didn’t know what to say at first.  How did they get my name?  Oh, right, I’d checked out the book and I have a library card with identifying information.

I told him it was just a bookmark, I did not need it back.  Then he said, ok, we’ll toss it.  Toss it!  Oh, my poor altered card.  It won’t be seen by any unsuspecting recipient.  Which card was it?  The one from Eric and Kristen thanking us for being so helpful when they visited?  The one from my brother when he went to the WWII battlefields our father fought on?  I have kept these cards for years in some cases and I am ready to let them go, to let them live a new and altered life.

Why did I not tell the librarian about the Gorilla Art & Poetry?  Well, it just seemed like a lot to explain and, in retrospect, it seems leaving it in the book – it’s a bookmark, I told him – was not an option he entertained anyway.

Oh well.  I do this a lot and this is the first time I’ve been caught.  Won’t stop me from doing it again, either.



  1. Rev. Z said

    Oh man, that’s kind of heartbreaking right there. To have art relegated to trash? Sad. I hope this doesn’t stop you from sharing your work with unsuspecting readers?

  2. Never heard of this and I love the idea. I am a collage artist and do a lot of mail art, and also am an avid reader circulating lots of library books. Wow! Can’t wait to try this. Thanks for posting.

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