Lori Beth Coolidge is a pot poet

Cannabis brings out the creative in some people. There are stoner bands and music and artwork and even literature. A few weeks back, I referred to the "poetry of strain naming" in a discussion of a new way of identifying strains by Leafly.com. It just seems that people get super hyperbolic when it comes to naming their flowers.

It may be the very personal sense of creativity, of having spawned a strain that is extremely pleasing and never existed before. It could be the result of careful breeding, it could be a fortunate spin on the roulette wheel of DNA. Whatever it is, growers feel the right to wax poetic about the creations they helped bring to bear.

What else would lead one to name their cannabis Wonder Diesel, Everest Queen, Black Widow, Butterscotch Hawaiian, Full Moon, or White Widow? You might say that the strain-namer was likely high when these thoughts flitted into her brain. And that may well be true. But you might also say that cannabis brings out the poet in people. Who hasn't smoked a joint and suddenly began having deep, meaningful feelings that they want to put into words?

Some people put their thoughts into a lot of words. Lori Beth Coolidge is one of them. She's been reading her verse at cannabis events around town since 2015 when she first read at the Hash Bash. This past week, she did her thing at the Pumpkin Cup and at Dab-o-Ween, using the names of strains as the driving force of the piece.

Coolidge is a retired International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers member who uses cannabis to help treat her Multiple Sclerosis.

"I was an electrician," says Coolidge. "When I was diagnosed, they wouldn't let me work anymore. I refused to take all those pills — the medicines — so I use marijuana instead. ... I'm an activist. I was one of the ones running around saying sign my petition for legalization."

The poetry bug hit Coolidge long before she encountered cannabis. It's been a lifelong practice, and she keeps a notebook to scribble her verses down. They feed the work in her two self-published books, Without a Doubt and About the Truth, sold proudly from the trunk of her car.

"I've been writing poetry since I was in fifth grade, when I found out I could write poetry that people actually listen to," she says. "It was an outlet for me."

Coolidge has a new outlet coming up. She's scheduled to perform in a Shawn P. Entertainment presentation of The Vagina Monologues in February. But before she moves on to an entirely different subject matter, let's check out the piece she featured in last week's events. All the references to strain names or cannabis products are capitalized:

For my 420 Friends

Lemon Wheel was tired

of rolling around San Fernando Valley

he saw Gorilla Glue and Cindy 99

standing in line in an alley

Black Water was the club

they were waiting to get in

he saw the Cannaoil crew

come around the bend

everybody stopped-stared-and froze

when in came Tangie

with Black Sugar Rose

Cherry Pie stepped on the scene

Lemon Wheel knew this was the place to be

a Purple Alien walked in the place

everyone gave him plenty of space

because all about and surrounding

were 4 big Rockstar Romulans

he pulled out some buds

some Galaxy God

people all around

started to smile and nod

Kalifa came out with some

Fortune Cookies

White Fire called him out

said he was a rookie

Wicked Alien had Cotton Candy

then Deadhead decided

to rip off Grannies Panties

She hit him on the head

with a Nine Pound Hammer

he ran to get help

from a Critical Mass called Bruce Banner

this caught the attention

of the Cannaoil Crew

Shatter, Rosin, Sap and Crumble too

then all of a sudden

they started to rumble dude

Burmese Kush kicked Permafrost

into the Vortex

looking around at Space Jill

saying bitch you next

Sensei Star was smoking Green Crack

when Keif and Hash jumped on his back

the place was looking like Chernobyl

when someone yelled out oh no!

then out of the sky

Captain Kirk came flying by

with his award-winning Key Lime pie

got everybody high

no one could deny

Cap'n Kirk won the top prize

When it comes to creative output, marijuana is often the gift that keeps on giving.

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About The Author

Larry Gabriel

Larry Gabriel covers cannabis for Metro Times. He also writes the Detroit Watch in the monthly Michigan Cannabis Industries Report. Larry's chapter "Rebirth of Tribe" in the book Heaven Was Detroit, from jazz to hip-hop and beyond chronicles the involvement of Marcus Belgrave, Wendell Harrison, Harold McKinney,...
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