Dark, Dark Black: A Letter

Thursday, September 5, 2013

I wrote this the day before coming to see my friend Jess Chen's puppet and poetry show "Silence and the Earth," which she has been touring for the past three months across the U.S. and Canada. The show was (and is) magical. It has changed a lot since I saw it first on the East coast in New York City, where it was set up at Bluestockings. This show was outside at Gasworks park, under one of the arches, and featured candle-lit music performances, spoken word, and sparklers. Thank you for continuing to create magic, Jess.

Dear friends-who-are-artists:
I’ve wanted to write you a letter. I imagine you carrying it around in your sweater pockets, in your sundresses, on the left shin of your cargo pants. It – and I – will be with you on all of your journeys.

I like to see you honest. Too often we’re found reaching for our vices - a beer for you, some sugar for me - and laughing off our scars like they’re tattoos we set out to display. They remain there day after day. Sometimes the hurt in me is just a song I like to sing when the hot water runs brown from the taps. I’m sure there are days when your hips hurt from bearing up those beautiful bones.

To me, you are a coil wrapped tight with energy - a histone spooled with DNA. And yet, as essential as you are to my being created out of clay, the mud sometimes still comes up over your lips and throat to silence you.

Make noise anyway.

Right now, I’m divining a transition. It’s less like a to-do list and more like spontaneous combustion: as I pull words from between my teeth, I think of you casting shadows on endless walls from coast to coast. I forget that sometimes effortlessness takes a hundred pounds of dragon meat and magic to make happen, and simply because I don’t see you every day doesn’t mean that you don’t need my love and support.

Here it is.

It’s dark dark black when we can’t see our own shadows. Imagine the moon lighting your every step. Let your hair free. And look for my loving ghost tracing your footsteps in the soft earth.