This was my first time performing a piece that I wrote in front of a live audience! It was a great experience!
The text of the poem is available here:
I’m here. I made it.
To the top of the Eiffel Tower.
The only thing missing is – her.
I have all the memories
Of our time together
And of me giving her my pink sweater
But I have nothing of her, nothing of hers
But this view
Of the place she loved to visit many times
And the times she transported me to this ville
While we spoke on the telephone
Where is she now?
My heart can only imagine
She’s somewhere without me
Enjoying the views of the world she is no doubt traversing
She was always a traveler, that one
She pulled me out of my shell
When all I wanted to do was live inside it
She taught me how to be spontaneous
And spontaneous, we were, together
I’ve lived many a beautiful night since we last spoke
I do miss her
But I know parting was for the better
I’m not looking for anyone, but me
But I wish she were here with me
So that I can finally tell her
That I’m here witnessing the city that she always wanted me to see
You gave me Moroccan food and laughter
I gave you London and Paris
And a happy birthday
Moulin Rouge on my phone
And hours of conversation
We stuck to each other
Across countries and time zones
Sipping red wine on the terrace
Sharing sunsets and texts
Thinking of you thinking of me
Funny how the moment I met you
Turned into a transatlantic connection
We danced forever in your city
And I will have you forever in my heart
Let me take your picture
So that I can see the Moroccan tiles frozen in the background
Captivating your smile
That frowns with your eyes
Let me see the frame in which our lunch and dinner
Were peppered by saffron and couscous
Coocoo I see you
In the shades of memory
Which had me squealing
You are far now
Far, far away like a shadow
Running towards the sunlight in the tunnel
I run after you
But your footsteps fade
I can’t hear them
I only see the sidewalk
That we used to walk down together
With your hand in mine
Waving away the breeze
That played with your hair
As you playfully placed a strand behind my ear
A song that we sang
As we danced the night away
In that place
That is not here
Inside the club
We were surrounded by strangers
But only you and I were there
As we laughed
Knowing it would not last
But taking advantage
Of every moment which we knew would
You are a good person.
You deserve everything that you have.
You deserve everything that you want.
Give yourself more credit.
Higher Power is looking after you.
Your friends and inner circle reflect the beautiful person that you are.
You are purposeful.
You are ok.
You are wonderful and glorious!
You are destined for greatness.
You are great in that you are alive.
You are awesome and amazing.
You make people happy.
You are a star in this Universe.
Let your light shine!
I see you, as you stare at our picture together, wondering how I’m doing, but resolved not to reach for your phone
You recall many moments that we shared
As you glimpse at my eyes, staring past me
You gave me your sweater
But you have nothing of mine
Save for the photos that you took
It’s how it is
How we never knew that we were going to meet each other
Until we did
Like ships passing in the night
We spent the night together
That went by too fast
We were in each other’s lives
But for a moment
That we stretched out
Until we couldn’t anymore
The rubber band holding us together
It was stretched too long
I can’t say
So, we unanchored and departed
Left the dock
That was keeping us at bay
We went on our merry ways
And now you are there
And I am here
And I see you
I feel you
I know you feel me
Like the lighthouse in the ocean
I am the star that you see
When you gaze at the photo
Wondering what could have been
As you keep guiding your ship
To the land without me
I dream of you almost every day –
That’s not true
I dream of you very often –
Or really like sometimes
But in all my dreams
We fail to connect
In the way that my waking mind wishes
I see you in my dreams
With your back towards me
Or working in a city that I come to visit
But somehow, we can’t find each other
No matter how hard I try in my dream
Something keeps us apart
In my last dream
You saw me and wanted to say hi before I was leaving
And I wanted to see you, too, before I left
I forgot something though
So I went back to the room to get it
And when I came back out
I saw that you staked out a spot
To be sure to run into me or see me before I left
You said hi
And so did I
I had butterflies in my stomach
Because I think I was anticipating a bigger reaction
And I was about to give you one
But somehow, in the seconds between your hi and non-reaction
I got deterred
So all I said was hi
And seemingly kept it moving
Until I left your city again
As what happens
Over and over again
In my dreams
Sometimes I feel unpretty
Running circles around my life
In an effort not to remember
What I can’t forget
That night and many nights when he –
I try to forget and I remember
That I can’t control the fact that it happened
The way it did, or why it did, or when it did
Where were you when I needed you?
I cried so many times
People couldn’t hear me
My tears were silent
My smile was louder
My face was plastered
My mind disconnected
I blame her
I know I shouldn’t
They say not to
But that is why she’s so hard
She wants to prove to herself that she won’t break
That no one else will break her or invade the space
That she’s made sacred:
Her world, her heart
She suffers from grief
That he made gray
And she listens to the sadness
That drowns out the music in her ears
He is gone
But somehow it feels as if he has never left
What does it mean to be Black in America? It means being angry, tired and scared. It means being proud but not boastful, walking the fine line between loving your heritage and hoping that it doesn’t draw too much attention so that you are made to feel other. It means, by default, being Other. It means trying to fit in. It means fighting against racism, all the while hoping that its subtle messages of inferiority don’t take hold in your heart.
It means reconciling with the fact that you come from a legacy of people who’ve always worked harder than they’ve ever been given credit for. It means keeping your eye on the prize, while every day struggling to survive. It means wanting to leave behind something for your children with the hopes that they’ll have it easier, but every day being reminded that the past is always present. It means being mother, father, worker and soul warrior. It means believing in something bigger, even if that faith does not materialize in time to save us now. It means hoping, praying, fighting, organizing and calling upon all the ancestors in our bloodline to keep going, moving, striving and changing until we achieve what is meant to be wholly ours: freedom.
RIP #BreonnaTaylor #AhmaudArbery #GeorgeFloyd #AllTheFallen
You will not be forgotten.