Thursday, June 9, 2011

The More You Are

The other night I watched a friend perform in a new dance work, but it would be more apropos to say that I watched him dive into every cell of his being as he moved across the floor. My friend Greg is the most embodied person I know. He lives in his body without the shame that so permeates our culture. And he is one of the bravest artists I know.

After the performance, I got back to my car and couldn't turn on the ignition. So much was spiraling through me. I just kept thinking, "I want to be brave like Greg." I picked up my notebook and the words poured out in a poem.

Photo by Kathleen Keagy
I sent the poem to Greg that night, and he wrote back saying that it made him cry. And it occurred to me that maybe I am brave. When I write poetry, I am not afraid of anything. I dive in. Instead of trying to untie the knot of what I'm feeling, I keep going in until I come out the other side. And maybe the reason that I so admire the way my friend Greg dances is because it affirms the artist I am...the artists we all are.

What if the most inspiring thing I can do every day is to embody who I am? What if I weigh every choice on the scale of “Is this me or not?” What if I conduct my life believing that the more I become myself, the more others are allowed to be themselves?

Greg says the reason he creates the art he does is so that others know they are not alone. So here is the poem I wrote for Greg. Yes, I want to be brave like that.

The More You Are
(for Greg)

I am the better for watching you dance
from the sweat of your heart
I learn
how to be
unafraid to be
what you know
to be known

I am the better for knowing you now
having lost
the energy to pretend
I am fragments
but you see the whole

I am the better for knowing your shadow
until my legs
found fire
until my voice
found silence
and heard herself

the more you are
the better I am

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