Pay What You Want Poetry

Steve McAlphabet
4 min readOct 18, 2021

After visiting the Rocktoberfest music festival I’d seen while giving a tour with Discover Sarasota Tours on Saturday, I decided to return on Sunday. I drove the van for the Psychic Tour until 3:00, and since my motorcycle was in the shop awaiting a new throttle cable, I asked one of the other guides to drop me off on his way home. I found a spot of shade in the amphitheater by the Doughboy statue as the rest of JD Hamel Park was filled with music and vendors, and I set up shop.

I placed my 1959 Royal Futura 800 typewriter on top of its case in front of me and placed my tip bucket next to it. On the back of the “Steve McAllister Motorcycling Music Across America” sign I had made up for my summer tour, I used a Sharpie to write “PAY WHAT YOU WANT POETRY” just as I had written “THANK YOU” on the tip bucket. I had already cut up some of my typing paper into quarters, and fed the first piece into the carriage.

I started with a free verse poem that went as follows…

It begins…

the way that it always does

with an ordinary moment

turned extraordinary

by the mirror application of attention

to see you little differently

to realize the option

to be different

for this moment is different

this moment is

a now that has never existed before

and only in this now…

only in this moment

only with this modicum of attention

will this moment be the

magical, miraculous

extraordinary moment

that it is capable of being

if we can only see it

I dropped the poem into the tip bucket, loaded another small sheet of paper, and started another poem. A few lines in, two ladies from Lakewood Ranch approached with cash in hand, and I loaded a clean sheet of paper while asking what they wanted their poems to be about and…

Steve McAlphabet

I recently produced a documentary about my 73 day motorcycle tour to celebrate the legacy of Will Rogers and perform my show “Get The Bunk Out”.