You are here:

Step - a poem by Caridad Svich, delivered at 2013 Latino Theatre Commons National Convening.

by Caridad Svich
[This poem was written on November 1st, 2013. An excerpt of it was delivered at the 2013 Latina/o Theatre Commons National Convening at Emerson College, Boston in a plenary session on Saturday morning November 2nd, 2013, where Ms. Svich spoke about the mission of NoPassport theatre allance and press.]
I left at dawn
while creation slept.
Barefoot, breathless
wondering where I'd been.
The roads turned dirt.
Smoke rose in the air
low against the muted horizon.
I felt a pull
a tug at my chest.
Was this home?
Is this where I'd been?
The road would not say.
It had other concerns.
It wanted something else of me, of us.
The lingering face of memory
the unsettling place of doubt
the unknown space of love's serenity.
Here were desks
dusted with desire.
Here were words
inscribed upon
vanishing sheets of paper.
I took a step
toward the invisible ink
and felt instead a candle
burning upon a ledge
against a broken window
that somebody had once
called home.
Speak reason, words,
my lips cried out
but nothing came
from the burning flame,
save a waxy tear,
a dying ember.
Is this power?
My lips asked.
Is this where such words lead?
no glory here,
only fragility,
as embers cradled breath
and tendered civility.
The road turned south.
Horizon shifted.
It seemed as if a dance of angels
moved upon the damaged earth.
Sorry times, someone said,
midst the blur of night,
such lustful craving
for the language of currency.
must we all be merchants now?
a ghost queried from an unlit corridor.
must we all package our desires
in modular boxes of similar, replicable design
so that they can be neatly arranged upon
the shelves of history?
I'd like to think
the river cane
lights a sheltering light
of art
and trees
of weeping leaves
and the bones of all of our dead -
for if the living light
is truly free,
then let it truly be.
No power claimed.
No conquest named,
only the gleam
of invisible cities.
For it is said
in right and left
in inches and degrees
the healing clock
will rise and stop
and call with blissful ease:
a kindly blues
an aching news
of who we might not be,
but rather who we are
without power's star
to claim our liberties.
oh noble weakness,
oh thrilling fragility
how nimble you will be
when puckish loud
and blazing proud
you'll slip through history
with a wink and a smile,
a darting eye,
a semblance of unfettered identity.
for it is now the ink drawn map
traced upon the rock
glassy smooth
surrendered eye/I -
a path newly born
in hazy ash
in grey of morn
in twilight's archaeology.
Look here - the curving sky
Look here - the unknown gods
held in your skin
as physical memory.
End of book, someone will say,
but then
for in the cave
is the riddled grave
the oracle of destiny.
Hold back all tears
Erase fears
Rise up
as the sun shines through the belly.
and in that breath
a stone's throw
from eternity.