Sunday, April 19, 2015

Points In Space

This is my first time writing a poem (unless you count haiku), and it has a bit of an odd history: In my college choreography class, one of our individual assignments was to select a title from a list, then create movement based on the title. I overheard another student asking if we were allowed to use music for this assignment, and the teacher responded "no, but you can do spoken word" which inspired me to create a poem to accompany my dance. The titles provided in class were all from famous dances, so Points In Space shares its name with a dance by Merce Cunningham. I may post videos in the future, as Points In Space was always intended to be performed, not just read as text.


I was born into a culture that was not my own
  the rituals make no sense to me
  my brother hates that I am different
  and even my parents are not really my kin
I am a single point in space

For fifteen years I wondered who I was
  I tried to ask but my voice could not carry
  a silence for which no alternative was offered
In this way they told me my culture was empty
  I tried to read but the sensation of a story in my own tongue was always out of reach
  I might as well try to feel the sky as if it were braille
In this way they told me I am a sad little star
  shining alone in ultraviolet so no one can see me

I refused to believe this, and indeed I discovered the telescope
  but upon seeing the galaxy no later did I learn
  that the other stars are quadrillions of miles away
I shine with stubborn hope that my light will reach the others
  but how do I know they are even watching?
They are just points in space to me
  I know nothing more

I have grown to despise the space
  emptiness is my jail cell
  the other stars in other cells
  and the distance between us the bars
In truth I am no star
  I am a human being on a rock
  but just as the distance shrinks so does my jail cell
I curse the rock beneath me
  for it is the space that divides me from my culture
  from myself

And then, acceptance

This telescope that showed me the galaxy
  this screen that told me about myself
  it is not a jail bar
  it is the key to the cell
The stars and I may be at different points in space
  but we are already one because I am seeing their light
  that IS my culture

I do not ring the door bell when I come home
I press the power button.

Reading the poem at Autism HWY annual chalk festival, April 18, 2015.

2 comments:

  1. This is exquisite - and quite has me sighing '...ah - yes' - and almost gaping to again catch my breath - that I didn't quite realize I was holding...

    These last lines released my tears...

    "The stars and I may be at different points in space
    but we are already one because I am seeing their light
    that IS my culture

    I do not ring the door bell when I come home
    I press the power button."

    Yes! <3

    Leah

    ReplyDelete
  2. In awe as well Daniel. This is just so excellent. I would love to see this performed as intended!
    The stage at next year's Chalk Festival is all yours, choreograph away!

    ReplyDelete

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