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
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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