Seek the Encounter

This weekend I was lucky enough to participate in a three-day intensive improv workshop with the insurmountably talented Rob Adler. As part of the exercise, he asked us to encapsulate our experience into words. “Reflect on the experience, ” he said.  “Hold onto it by sharing it.” As much as I want to bask in the glow of the work we did as an ensemble and keep the work to myself, Rob is right. I have to open the box and let it out, it is the only way to hold onto it.

Seek the Encounter

What is the where?

the soft give of the laminate floor closing the space between our feet and it

squeaks of barefoot toes softly padding toward old friends

and new

sense the space around us, dense, pliable, malleable

porous streams of people weaving themselves into my space

then out

then in again, but this time

they stop

take a collective breath

and see me.

Seek the encounter.

where the

dull hum of florescent lights cast tungsten tones onto dirty, beige walls

see the color: orange, now yellow, now red, now green, now black

now orange again

one at a time we move through space, between us and feel

blind faith leading us away from our limitations

embrace the fear, the sting of unknown, heightened senses

see with your ears

then stop

take a collective breath

and hear me.

Seek the encounter.

where the

palpable beats of our hearts, rhythmic and tribal move us as one organism

driven by the collective experience

we mirror

follow no leader, just see, and hear, and feel, and move

toward one another, morphing, changing, transforming

again and again and again until you are me and I am you and we are we

hand in hand we sprint toward the unknown

then stop

take a collective breath

and become

one.

If Phillip Lopate Broke Up With Me…

If I was dating Phillip Lopate and he wanted to break up with me, I hope he’d do it with this…

(Lopate’s original poem, We Who Are Your Closest Friends can be found here.)

We who are

your string of dates

feel the time

has come to tell you

that every Thursday

we have been meeting,

as a group,

to devise ways

to keep you

in perpetual uncertainty

frustration

discontent and

torture

by neither loving you

as much as you want

nor cutting you adrift.

Your true love is

in on it,

plus your boyfriend

and your ex-fiancé;

and we have pledged

to disappoint you

as long as you need us.

In announcing our

association

we realize we have

placed in your hands

a possible antidote

against uncertainty

indeed against ourselves.

But since our Thursday nights

have brought us

to a community

of purpose

rare in itself

with you as

the natural center,

we feel hopeful you

will continue to make unreasonable

demands for affection

if not as a consequence

of your disastrous personality

then for the good of the collective.

American Songbirds

Something happened to me last night; I managed to transform from a rational human being into a babbling idiot.  I met two of my favorite singers: Misty Boyce and Sara Bareilles. In fact, I was so excited to chat with them that I’m pretty sure I word-vommitted all over their backstage lounge. Sigh. Anyway, I strongly urge you to listen to Misty sing in the video I included. She is amazing, but the end of the video is conclusive proof that I shouldn’t be allowed to talk to famous people. In my defense, I can’t help it. I get so excited and proud of these artists as they open their hearts to us. We are beyond privileged to be the listeners of their stories. So keep singing, and writing, and composing no matter how nerdy your fans are because you are inspiring Misty Boyce and Sara Bareilles. Thank you.

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Ghost Man

Where I stand is where I was.

There, beyond the Eucalyptus branch, sifting through the mist his figure sharpened as he approached.

Noticing nothing. Sharpening still.

His gait was, somehow labored as though the passing years had worn him away.  Slightly limping from the uneven weight of the burden’s he’s born. And gently bent from the wind of a hundred secrets.

Promises kept. Promises broken.

Ancient hands curled carefully around each other. Slowly twisting all the memories lost into one song. One story. One moment. One reality that somehow slipped through his fingers until all that was left was… nothing. Nothing more than sweet smells of the past winding their scents into this place.

Whispers of who he was and who he is.

A ghost, thick with life and stories and children and lovers and hatred and betrayal and loyalty.

A hero, maybe? One who’s legacy is far from known. Forgotten even, once upon another time.

So, where I stand is where he was.

There, beyond the Eucalyptus branch, sifting through the mist, his figure softens as he fades.

Noticing everything. Softening still.