Forget the tabloid rack.
The conveyor belt at Miami supermarket checkout lanes is where the most interesting slices of life will be for the next month.
Liberty City grade-school poets have their work printed on checkout line conveyor belts at the Sabor Tropical supermarket in the MiMo district as part of another guerrilla poetry project from O, Miami during poetry month. Their poems about everything from chicken wings to chocolate reflect their love and memories of food.
“We ate some Mac n cheese
And then we started to float”
That inspired rumination from Quanya Ponder, an Orchard Villa Elementary fourth grader, is one of the many poems O, Miami’s Sunroom Poetry in Schools project helped coax out of third- and fourth graders at three Liberty City schools — Poinciana Park Elementary, Orchard Villa and Holmes Elementary. The Sunroom program helps more than 130 children across the county be inspired to love reading and creative writing. The Sabor Tropical grocery store chain may expand the project to all of its locations.
O, Miami’s real talent is putting poetry in front of the public in the most unique ways, from using gold-leaf paint in urinals around town to printing on the side of cafecito cups in past years. Miami-born artist Alana Eve Burman thought about where she could place the kids’ poetry where Miamians could experience it “without even trying.”
“Stores have forever been taking advantage of the check-out aisle with impluse purchases,” Burman said. “I thought, ‘How refreshing would it be to be inundated with poetry instead of just a sales pitch?’”
At the Sabor Tropical at 8000 NE 5th Ave., the children’s thoughts scroll past like tributaries between cartons of eggs and gallons of milk, with poetry that is inspired by food. The poems are printed in English, Spanish and Creole to reflect the area’s multicultural population.
In a way, her project echoes her father’s project last year. Randy Burman printed children’s poems on rooftops beneath Miami International Airport’s flight path so passengers could see the poems as their flights took off and landed.
The grocery stores are the perfect venue for young writers such as Michelle Harden, an Orchard Villa fourth grader, who had chocolate on her mind.
“The flavor is chocolate,
and it’s screaming my name,
asking me if I would be guilty if I ate it,
and I will say, yes,
and with some lemons !!!!!!”
Correction: An earlier version of this story stated all seven Sabor Tropical locations are participating in the program. All seven were approached, but only the MiMo area store is participating.