Adrian Lime

Adrian Lime

Poet, Spray Paint Artist, Jeep worker

May 9, 2018


Tell us more about some of your past projects?

I’ve been doing spray paint portraiture off and on for about twenty years, but primarily I’m a poet. So most of my past projects have been poetry related.

With my great friend Lori, I began a poetry group called the Almeda Street Poetry Co-op, meeting weekly at Lori’s house on Almeda Street in West Toledo. That began in the mid 90’s. Over the years there were scads of talented poets and nervous beginners joining us, many of whom are still in contact. It is continually gratifying to have made such intimate relationships with so many talented artists.

In 2011, led by Michael Kocinski, a small group of writers and Toledo go-getters began the Toledo Poetry Museum, which is now a Facebook page. The TPM had two main goals:

We wanted to use our combined experience of putting together readings, contacting publishers, connecting with other creatives, and all the messy work that goes on parallel to the hard work of actually WRITING, and to mentor or boost the younger or newer writers who are just beginning on that path. There are so many brilliant poets who might be discouraged from sharing their good work simply because they either don’t know how to start, or the idea of taking that step is prohibitively frightening.  We wanted to be the grease to those gears. I know that I met a group of older poets in Toledo who encouraged me when I was nineteen and shaky at the mic. Their support was crucial to me as a young poet, and as a person. I’m endlessly appreciative of that.

And we wanted to acknowledge a social responsibility component of our work. John Swaile, who passed away in 2009— a great friend and former Almeda Street Poet— had encouraged us to promote or actively support some good, local charity work. We’re already getting together to share our work and to commune, why not pitch in a little and help? There aren’t a lot of wealthy poets, I should say, but most everyone gave what they could. Even if it was just their presence. Or a pair of socks. We continue that to this day.

What current projects are you working on?

I’ve been working on a series of spray paint portraits. I’d done these in different ways since my college years, but most of those I’ve either given away or they’ve been lost between moves. My friend Miriam Wagoner, who owns and operates the Art & Performance Center of West Toledo, encouraged me to keep my finished pieces.  She believed that there was a market for them, which was news to me, but it turns out she was right. It’s overwhelmingly gratifying to find out that people appreciate something that you already love to do. I can’t thank Miriam enough for that support. But that’s just how she is.

I’ve just hung my first gallery show at the APC, which will be up all through May. It’s so exciting and nerve-racking, like reading poems in front of a large audience. And so now I’m still writing, still painting, and I have far too many ideas for the time I have to work on them. That’s a good problem to have, I suppose.

What advantages does being in Northwest Ohio/Toledo offer your efforts?

The greater Toledo area is not a small pond, but it’s not so large a pond as New York or LA or Chicago. I think that Toledo’s “medium-pond” size offers an advantage of having an inordinate amount of talented artists at every level of expertise, without the oppressive pressure of being in an art Mecca that might seem impossible to break into. Whatever level of skill or passion that fits you in your art, there is a solid place for it in Toledo. A home and a tribe. 

Tell us about one of your greatest successes.

I consider my first, if not greatest, success in poetry to be an Almeda Street Poets reading at the Toledo Museum of Art about twenty years ago, part of the It’s Friday program. Some of what I performed worked out all right, but I pretty much bombed that reading.  It was my first reading in front of a large audience, I read poems that were most likely grossly inappropriate for the Great Gallery, and I probably broke a few rules of the TMA and good taste. But I consider it a great success because the TMA has been an important place for me since I first moved to Toledo, and because I bombed that reading and didn’t die as a result. It gave me the courage to read publicly anywhere else, with the foreknowledge that no matter what happens during my performance, no matter how well I read or how successfully or unsuccessfully my poems affect the audience, I’m going to survive the reading. 

And, most importantly, I realized that by and large an audience wants you to succeed. They are with you. You’re not going to please everyone, and there will be some big bombs, but pretty much everyone wants to see you do well. That was a huge boost to my confidence as a performer.

Tell us who or what gives you inspiration?

People give me inspiration. Kindness gives me inspiration. I deal with depression and anxiety every day— some days are better, some days are worse, some days are just days to get through. So when I see any act of kindness, any light of humanity, no matter how small, no matter how faint, it nourishes me. I need water, breath, and kindness. End of list.

Tell us about your background.

I was born and raised in Ashland, Ohio, which is a fairly small town in north-central Ohio. I liked it there.  It was a good place to grow up. I couldn’t wait to get out. Now, I like to visit to reconnect with family who I miss, and to hear the bullfrogs blurp their shockingly resonant voices at the pond on some family land. 

I met my wife - the ridiculously talented, poetic dynamo Jonie McIntire - in one of Joel Lipman’s poetry workshops in college. Her poems knocked me out.  I also met poet Kerry Trautman (at the time Kerry Jensen, also poetically knockout-able), and asked them both to hook up with us at the Almeda Street Poets. The rest is history… Kerry is one of my closest friends, and Jonie and I married and have had one hell of a beautiful life together. 

Do you have a motto or favorite quote you try to live by?

“Be good.”  That’s it.  I say it to people all the time, and they often give me a squinty-eyed questioning look, like “what now?” But I think that “be good” sums up everything. 

Favorite place for local culture?

I don’t know if it exactly answers the question, but I like to go see artists or listen to poets who I’ve never heard before.  Lots of places in the area host live music and poetry readings, display artists I’ve never heard of. I could list a hundred. They’re all doing the good work, and that feeling of a new artist coming to light is an inspiration. I don’t have a favorite… just anything new.

Toledo’s “best kept secret” is . . .

I don’t know if it’s a secret— I hope it isn’t— but the Glass City Roasters coffee shop on Eleanor Avenue in West Toledo has become part of our daily/weekly routine. I don’t consider myself a coffee snob, but I like good coffee. And their coffee is pretty much all we buy anymore. They have a good variety of coffee beans they roast, they roast the beans right at the shop, and they’ll even deliver to your house. They offer lots of other drinks and nibbles, and they’re great advocates of local sourcing. The owners are lovely people, and they live right in the Five Points neighborhood. 

My favorite natural space in the Toledo area is . . . 

I love Wildwood Metropark, and Side Cut. And the smaller parks in my neighborhood… Liberty Park and Willys Park. Toledo has a great resource in its metroparks. It’s tough to get away from the city sound, but these preserves and parks are a nice respite, and have been working to maintain and protect native flora. That’s pretty amazing, and something for Toledo to be proud of.

When I’m not working hard, I can always be found at . . . 

Either at home with my wife and kids, or at poetry readings in the area. Here’s a shameless plug for where I keep tabs on local poetry happenings. I get their weekly email of upcoming events, and I’ll check the calendar on the website if I’m looking further ahead.

If you could change anything about the current landscape for creative, progressive people . . .

I hesitate to say, because I feel like I’m not really in the know. I loved that the Collingwood Arts Center used to house artists for an incredibly low monthly rent. That saved me from some months of homelessness in 1997, and it connected me to some amazing people. I am honest when I say that the CAC saved my life back then.  And I began my spray paint portraits there. If something like that could be viable again, it would be indispensable to fostering creative endeavors. But money is money.  It’s a tough balance.

3 words that best describe me or my work are . . .

Reassembling shattered memories.

I’d like to see __________ in Toledo.

I’d like to see more locally owned businesses in Toledo. There are already so many, which is a great thing, but locally owned businesses are essential to the success of communities. It can be tough living in a working-class neighborhood, where sometimes your only economically viable options are chain stores and restaurants. It’s a hard decision sometimes when a local shop sells something for twice the price of what a huge chain operation can sell something similar for. But I’ve seen and I am seeing the success of neighborhoods built upon local ownership. There is really a direct relationship there. 

I don’t put all of my money into locally-owned businesses, there are some things that I just can’t, or items that just aren’t offered. But when I buy something from a business owner in my area, that is a direct investment in the place where I live. I love it. Often it’s even less expensive, but if not, if it’s a little more in price, it’s worth it to me to know that I’m not funneling what funds I have into a big corporate pot in some other place. 

What’s the last dream you recall having?

I’ve told my wife about that, but no one else. Mind your own business.

The last lyric that moved me was . . .

“Time hangs heavy on the vine, let’s make wine”

One movie character I identify with is . . .

Peter O’Toole in Lawrence of Arabia
Peter O’Toole in Man of La Mancha
I suppose it’s just Peter O’Toole.

The best gift I’ve ever received was . . .

I know it’s corny, but it’s true. The best gifts I’ve ever received have been my marriage to Jonie McIntire and the life I have with my children, Emerson and Sophia.  Nothing else comes close. 

I want my last meal to be _______________.

Slow-barbequed and partially burnt pork ribs|
Collard greens with ham hock
My Nana’s coleslaw
My Grandma-in-law Joyce’s potato salad
My Grandma’s rhubarb pie
My wife’s fresh bread
And the most important bit is that we’re sharing it outside next to our garden with my mom, my wife and kids, and with plenty of any for those who can be there with us.  Do you know someone who wants to come over? Send them our way. BYOB. Must be ok with crazy beagles.


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