Broke-Ass of the Week – Silvi Alcivar of the Poetry Store
Every week we feature a different person from the community shedding a little light on their life of brokeitude. Who knows, maybe you’ll learn something about the human spirit…probably not.
Wanna be a Broke-Ass of the Week? Holler at us here and we’ll send you the questionnaire.
Silvi is. She goes to various places, sets up her vintage desk and typewriter, and writes poems on the spot. In her own words, this is how it works:
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1. You want a poem
2. You carefully select a piece of paper on which your poem will be written.
3. You tell the poet what you want your poem to be about.
In three minutes or less, you will have your poem'“as spontaneous as combustion and as original as bergamot and balsamic on your ice cream.
Satisfaction is guaranteed.
She just taps out your poem right then and there and then boom! you have a poem. Awesome right? You can also order poems as well. She types them up and then mails them to you, which is exactly what I had her do.
When Silvi asked me what I wanted it to be about I said, “Make it a manifesto for broke-asses”. And that’s just what she did. Check it out and click on it to see if bigger:
Also, check Silvi out on I live Here SF and of course, read below to see how she gets by as a broke-ass.
Name: Silvi Alcivar
Occupation: poet & poetry teacher for the Institute on Aging
What neighborhood do you live in?: The Mission
What are you listening to these days?: Always always sufjan stevens (see esp. his christmas album), the national, joanna newsom, rogue wave, andrew bird, bonnie prince billy, kings of convenience, feist, joni mitchell, marie siouxx, pretty much anything my friend calls 'œsad bastard music.'
Best money saving tip: When it come to things: ask yourself, 'œdo you need it?' When it comes to food: eat at home. When it comes to something you really want but can’t afford: see about the possibility of making a barter (the worst that can happen is the answer is no).
What do you refuse to spend money on?: $8 garden burgers reheated at restaurants! & pretty much any article of clothing that costs more than $15.
Most expensive thing you’ve ever bought: My macbook
How’d that feel?: 1. Agonizing: 'œCan I afford this? I can’t afford this.' 2. Wonderful! I’ve gone mac and I’m never going back. 3. Though I’m still making payments, I realize I can’t afford to live without this little machine.
Favorite cheap eat: My neighborhood corner store where I can buy lettuce, two avocados, a carrot, an apple, and a pomegranate (when they are in season) for $2 and make myself the best damn salad ever.
Favorite dive bar: The Rite Spot. (I mean, the name says it all.)
Best deal you’ve ever gotten: Hmm…I once paid $1.36 for a killer pair of boots. And I have been able to trade poems for some incredible things (including knit hats, sweatshirts, and hundreds of dollars worth of booth fees). I heart bartering!
Favorite free thing to do: Frolic on Ocean Beach & feel the wind in Alamo Square park & go to readings (see especially anything involving The Renegade Poet’s Brigade)
If you woke up a millionaire, what’s the first thing you’d buy?: A space in San Francisco to house my dream & people to help me run it: a sort-of 826 Valencia for the elderly. The storefront is filled with typewriters & poets writing on-demand poems. In the back is a writing center where me & other people who love old people & writing, run poetry workshops with people who are over 65 years old.
Despite not having money, do you still love your life?: Yes! I get to do what I’m passionate about everyday and I have met, and I continue to meet, incredible people, who are incredibly gracious and generous and supportive. In so many ways, I am living the life of my dreams. I mean, I’m eeking out a living as a poet. Who does that? & being frugal is fun! I like bargains. I like reusing stuff. I like not having a lot of stuff. I do wish it wasn’t such a struggle sometimes to pay the bills (admittedly: if I had a dime for every time I sighed, “I’m so tired of being broke,' I’d have paid off my macbook and then some). I mean, the broke-ass life is not all dreams & glory. But it’s the life I got. And I feel pretty lucky.
Do you own my book?: Erm, nope. But many public libraries do.
Best hangover cure: Fernet! with ginger back & lots of water.
Are you a hipster?: Ha! (I know, my musical tastes and fernet comment may have already swayed some opinions!) I’ve been told I’m a hipster on the outside and a hippie on the inside. But I think I talk to too many people I don’t know, skip too much, and use too many exclamation points to be a hipster. Plus, I like light and I would never wear sunglasses inside. And, the only time I wear a purposefully disheveled t-shirt is to go for a run. (hmm, do hipsters exercise? I mean, besides commuting on fixies? And that’s not exercising, right? That’s just commuting fashionably.)