I recited this poem for our graduation ceremony from Global College on May 10th, 2012. This poem is the untold story of my last four years of Global College. I assembled this poetic piece by puzzling together many bits of the poems that I wrote while I was studying and living in each of these areas of the world. I hope that this geographical and experiential authenticity helps to successfully reveal the flavor of each of these periods of my life.
Ich bin a baby of the seas;
Mi nombre takes me to Italia with my parents
on younger winds, earlier days.
Pero I have been made into a baby of tongues
blown around by the winds.
Sometimes me cuesta to remember my roots
I am a baby of everywhere.
Ahora I have found my way back to my latina past…
There is mist covering an entire city –
a fog of forgetfulness and neglect.
We Live in Prisons
But they’re just as scared as we are.
As scared as we are supposed to be that is…
There are so many rules to follow and
everything feels unnatural.
Why is this and that not okay?
I am trying to buy a T-shirt, why do they have a gun?
I am trying to get my money out of the bank,
Why do they frisk me?
I want to fling open my door and dance in the street under the moonlight.
I am suffocating.
Where is my freedom?
On Tuesdays I take a bus to my freedom:
My freedom is in a group of gathered women
Dancing to transcend humanity.
We have become jaguars and birds;
a vicious dance with whipping hair.
Incense mingling with sweat on dirty floors:
ing. Let is loose.
Six bodies breathe together,
A shared watering bottle –
wild and wet.
Drum beats, heart beats.
Well, it’s organized like this….
a.) Poetic and Creative Starvation
b.) and at least... "The Dirt Conundrum".
I look down, tucking my head against the wind.
The hushed sound of thousands of pairs of shoes –
shuffling forward in harmony,
exiting the subway like a mob of masochistic insects,
crawling up the stairs and spilling into open, frigid air.
The silence of people moving together –
we breathe in through masks and scarves,
avoiding the claustrophobic whiffs of cigarette and H1N1.
Are we in this fight together or each alone?
Everywhere I turn there are fences blocking my way:
to the water cube at the Olympic park, the subway escalator,
stretches of open stone in the middle of Tian’anmen Square…
I’m walking with the masses.
We retreat back underground to cross the street; we don’t get in the way.
“Don’t disturb the illusion of quiet; do not take a stand to scream.”
I’m just walking as one of many –
foreign in a city that tries not to care.
I have no idea where we are going but I know that
when I strike out on my own here, I end up having to turn around.
Have I too made the choice to give up searching?
Is that why every single foot on these roads walks past the fences not wondering what is on the other side?
She’s a little girl trying hard to be big:
never truly sure if she’s gotten there –
“what is the measuring stick for grown-up-ness?”
She’s still in love with the morning sunshine,
the caterpillars traversing squiggling paths across the leaves
and the chirps of the hundreds of frogs that she’s caught –
that she’s given better lives in the glass aquariums of her memories.
The whisper of her song is still there, she swallows it back every time she opens her mouth to speak:
it’s muffled in the swish of her skirt and the pitter-patter of her disappearing footsteps.
“…Can you hear it?”
She’s running headlong into age,
she’s skipping down the hopscotched sidewalk of adulthood.
She has no patience for being young: with her new purse and her lover and her passport she clicks her high heels
three times and never comes home.
But every once in a while she looks back –
She reaches back with longing at the simpler life when
the silence of childhood laughed in the face of miscommunication
and tree-climbing concentration left no room for self doubt.
Bundled up and shuffling upstairs to the rooftop.
She shakes out her mat
And sits facing the hanging laundry.
The world stops for a breath or two
into the conscious present.
“O-om shanti ommmmm…”
There’s a flavor in the air –
hanging from the tree branches
of an inverted universe.
Is the image of my perfect life
a fragment of shredded reality
or an extrapolated ray,
Gasp. Smoke, coughing.
Help me constrict and construct
the walls around me.
Help me tear out of this bubble.
One foot in this world –
a basket of unanswered stories
pulling me over the edge.
I am unstoppable:
unstoppable in the way my heart
pours out of my ears,
clutching the transcendent beauty
of the cracks in the script we are all reading from.
I hold my tongue out for a raindrop from the other side…
but it evaporates on contact,
mesmerizing my fragile mind on the
highway of unfinished To-Do lists.
We could be free together,
escape the mundane drum of
We could define our own rules,
take a chalk eraser to the cemented labels
and leave a dusty wake behind us
as scientific laws are jumbled to make way
for our circling dreams.
Every moment could be ours
for the reaping.
If we can just close our eyes and conjure the bravery
It takes to jump into an undiscovered
This is my story,
It’s terrifying but:
Too important to ignore –
Too obvious and beautiful
To put away.
This is the compilation of the chapters
That brought me to this small moment;
This moment where I have to face my power,
Face the truth
Of this life…
That I am lost.
And maybe that is just me.
But what if all it takes to realize
I’m not alone
Is to put out my hand?
Well here it is –
My lifeline of well-intentioned doubt;
I can no longer hide.
Here I am, my heart heavy and
my hands –
dug into the earth;
my palms –
Here I kneel –
in the rain.
My lids –
closed in reverence.
My ears –
So open your eyes
And take my hand –
Here I am, a traveler.
Time, space… and dimensions yet unnamed.
Yes, let’s team up
Because surely soon enough
“We’ll see clearly now, the rain is gone…”
You know that moment –
when you smirkingly pat yourself on the back
for missing the step in the puddle
…right as you hop under the source –
On your head,
Sleeping awake in a jolt –
Jarred into the many questions
Depicting the complexity of the present.
it’s like we’re looking at our feet –
trying not to stumble –
on the pine needles.
While all the while –
our trees burn around us –
the moon weeps tsunamis.
And the sky –
has the blues… for his blues.
The sun –
has a fever.
She’s singe-ing –
around the edges.
We are all children
Whose lives have taught us to construct straws around
our fragile interiors.
We reel in our natural expansion
because we are hurt and frightened.
“Just breeeathe, force is not needed.”
Just a safe space to unravel
The tightly-knotted shoelaces
That (currently) anchor us to loneliness.
Soon our burdens will be lighter.
So don’t worry about your ever-bulging bag,
“Start today, throw away”
To the generous hands reaching out for you
into the cosmic community of freecycling.
You can call us “Free-gan”s
As we rescue the forgotten dinners from the Whole Foods compost
“Hey, we make this abundance work for us”
Others try to contain me, to limit me
because they do not understand
the way my hands
are extensions of my heart…
that try to catch every passing tear
in an enveloping hug of soothing noises,
and comfort foods.
I am a creative force:
powerful and bigger-than-life
in my possibilities.
I am elusive thought, magic with helium boots.
I am the mother, the creator –
The child and the tree.
Hear my silence.
Feel my voice …
And start to feel things
implode and expand –
Expanding out to a
power I never imagined possible.
My bare feet pound
the paths of all my mothers and daughters. –
We speak without words and paint with our dreams.
We are connected in a twirl of lace and traded braids –
wise fingers passing down
the unfinished knitting patterns of peace.
Weaving through the subway underpasses actually we are noticing each other –
deliberately and with much more detail than our awareness captures –
our minds and bodies juggle the angles and physics required
for us to pass by each other in a drumming harmony.
really we’re all just spokes
on the spinning microcosm
of the room that folds in on itself.
Underground, at night, people pour out their stories:
in the crooning of their mouthpiece –
in the strum of their bow.
Underground in this space,
I would weep next to perfect strangers
if my tears draped like golden blankets
over our weary shared humanity.
In this cuddle-puddle of desperate souls
My smile is beamed back to me –
by a sea of family:
Now I know who we are.