03:49
TED2008

Rives: A story of mixed emoticons

Filmed:

Rives tells a typographical fairy tale that's short and bittersweet ;)

- Performance poet, multimedia artist
Performance artist and storyteller Rives has been called "the first 2.0 poet," using images, video and technology to bring his words to life. Full bio

This means, "I'm smiling."
00:21
So does that.
00:24
This means "mouse."
00:27
"Cat."
00:29
Here we have a story.
00:32
The start of the story, where this means guy,
00:34
and that is a ponytail on a passer-by.
00:37
Here's where it happens.
00:44
These are when.
00:47
This is a cassette tape the girl puts into her cassette-tape player.
00:49
She wears it every day.
00:52
It's not considered vintage --
00:54
she just likes certain music to sound a certain way.
00:55
Look at her posture; it's remarkable.
00:57
That's because she dances.
00:59
Now he, the guy, takes all of this in, figuring,
01:01
"Honestly, geez, what are my chances?"
01:03
(Laughter)
01:07
And he could say, "Oh my God!"
01:08
or "I heart you!"
01:11
"I'm laughing out loud."
01:13
"I want to give you a hug."
01:15
But he comes up with that, you know.
01:17
He tells her, "I'd like to hand-paint your portrait on a coffee mug."
01:19
(Laughter)
01:23
Put a crab inside it.
01:25
Add some water.
01:27
Seven different salts.
01:29
He means he's got this sudden notion to stand on dry land,
01:31
but just panhandle at the ocean.
01:34
He says, "You look like a mermaid, but you walk like a waltz."
01:36
And the girl goes, "Wha'?"
01:42
So, the guy replies, "Yeah, I know, I know.
01:47
I think my heartbeat might be the Morse code for inappropriate.
01:49
At least, that's how it seems.
01:52
I'm like a junior varsity cheerleader sometimes --
01:54
for swearing, awkward silences, and very simple rhyme schemes.
01:58
Right now, talking to you, I'm not even really a guy.
02:03
I'm a monkey --
02:08
(Laughter) --
02:10
blowing kisses
02:11
at a butterfly.
02:13
But I'm still suggesting you and I should meet.
02:15
First, soon, and then a lot.
02:18
I'm thinking the southwest corner of 5th and 42nd at noon tomorrow,
02:23
but I'll stay until you show up, ponytail or not.
02:27
Hell, ponytail alone.
02:31
I don't know what else to tell you.
02:33
I got a pencil you can borrow.
02:35
You can put it in your phone."
02:37
But the girl does not budge, does not smile, does not frown.
02:40
She just says, "No thank you."
02:48
You know?
02:52
[ "i don't need 2 write it down." ]
02:56
(Applause)
03:02

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About the Speaker:

Rives - Performance poet, multimedia artist
Performance artist and storyteller Rives has been called "the first 2.0 poet," using images, video and technology to bring his words to life.

Why you should listen

Part poet, part storyteller, part philosopher, Rives is the co-host of TEDActive as well as a frequent TED speaker. On stage, his poems burst in many directions, exposing multiple layers and unexpected treats: childhood memories, grown-up humor, notions of love and lust, of what is lost forever and of what's still out there waiting to unfold. Chimborazo.

A regular on HBO's Def Poetry Jam, Rives also starred alongside model Bar Refaeli in the 2008 Bravo special Ironic Iconic America, touring the United States on a "roller coaster ride through the eye-popping panorama of American pop culture." Flat pages can't contain his storytelling, even when paper is his medium. The pop-up books he creates for children unfold with surprise: The Christmas Pop-Up Present expands to reveal moving parts, hidden areas and miniature booklets inside. 

His latest project—the Museum of Four in the Morning—is an ode to a time that may well be part of a global conspiracy. In a good way.  

More profile about the speaker
Rives | Speaker | TED.com