Human the Death Dance // We Were Emergencies

I thought I would share two of my favorite spoken words: Human the Death Dance and We Were Emergencies, both by Buddy Wakefield. Watch the live performances (SO MOVING): Human the Death Dance and We Were Emergencies.

Human the Death Dance

On the face of her phone

Wileen programs a message to herself
so that when the alarm clock rings
the screen flashes:
For some people
it’s just a reduction in suffering.

Jordan tattoos the words
in thick black letters
down the inside of his arm
so that when he looks at his wrist
he will remember not to hate himself so much.
What he keeps forgetting
is that there is life after survival.

After Dave left
Mary started sticking her face
between the film projector
and the movie screen
so that when the credits roll
she still gets to be somebody.

Whenever Tara’s past comes back she mashes
chalk into the sidewalk
until her knuckles bleed.
She scribbles and scrapes
scribbles and scrapes
till the words take shape
and this is what they say
they say I wanna die mutherfuckers
die DIE mutherfuckers
hold tight if I love ya
cause it might not last long.

Y’all, we’re all gonna die.
That’s the exciting part.
It’s learning how to live for a living,
that’s the tricky stitch.
Just ask Denise
whose family taught her when she came into this world
that Family equals Love
so Denise took that shit seriously
but after a lifetime of craving acceptance from their cruelty
she now finds herself jamming Polaroid pictures of these people into her typewriter
and pounding out the last letter of the word mercy
over and over and over again.
She strikes the key Y.
Y? Y? Y?Y?Y?

The answer?
The answer comes in the form of a handwritten letter from the moon.
It reads:
This is brutally beautiful.
So are we.
This is endless.
So are we.
We can heal this.
Crater Face
P.S. See me for who I am.
We’ve got work to do.

But my father
he didn’t read moon
he didn’t speak moon
and he didn’t write moon
so there was no letter found next to his body in the garage
when he chose to leave this place on purpose
without saying where he was goin’ or why.
There are still days you can catch me
tape recording eternal silence
and playing it backwards for an empty room
so I can listen to his dieing wish

it’s true,
the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree,
but my family tree
was in an orchard on a hill
that rolled me to the river
and that river
ripped me through the rapids
and those rapids
rushed me into this moment
right here right now
with you
at the mouth.

This is my church.
And if church is a house of healing
hallelujah welcome
come in as you are
have a look around
stay out of the porn.
There are massive stacks of bad choices in my backyard.
Haven’t finished cleaning the place up
but I’m workin’ on it
and clearly I have not yet reached enlightenment
for more than a fleeting moment
but I’m tryin’
and I found somethin’ here I want ya to have.
It’s not much
just a story
but it’s all I’ve got
so take it.
It’s called Dillon.

Dillon’s drug of choice was more
so Dillon took more
and more and more and more
until the day he woke up
babbling in a pool of his own traffic jam
realizing he was killing off the best parts of himself
and claiming he could read peoples’ skin.
When Dillon looked down at his heart flap
the skin read Boy, go find your spine and ride it outta here.

Wileen’s gut said Day 1.
Jordan’s arms were FULLY FORGIVEN.
Mary’s face read The
Tara’s knuckles: Healing.
Denise’s fingertip said C?
C. C. C.C.C.
And my smile
Dillon said my smile it said Fix it
so I came here to the mouth of the river
to look at my own reflection in the moonlight
and see what it says for myself
down my whole body
where it is written
in the skin
See me for who I am.
We’ve got work to do.

As for Crater Face,
I can’t speak for him.
His skin
is a brutally beautiful
handwritten letter
from the sun.

We Were Emergencies

We can stick anything into the fog and make it look like a ghost.
But tonight let us not become tragedies.
We are not funeral homes
with propane tanks in our windows
lookin’ like cemeteries.
Cemeteries are just the Earth’s way of not letting go.
Let go.
Tonight, poets, turn your ridiculous wrists so far backwards
the razor blades in your pencil tips
can’t get a good angle on all that beauty inside.
Step into this
with your airplane parts
move forward
and repeat after me with your heart:
I no longer need you to fuck me as hard as I hated myself.
Make love to me
like you know I am better than the worst thing I ever did.
Go slow.
I’m new to this,
but I have seen nearly every city from a rooftop
without jumping.
I have realized that the moon
did not have to be full for us to love it,
that we are not tragedies
stranded here beneath it,
that if my heart
really broke
every time I fell from love
I’d be able to offer you confetti by now.
But hearts don’t break, y’all,
they bruise and get better.
We were never tragedies.
We were emergencies.
You call 9 – 1 – 1.
Tell them I’m havin’ a fantastic time.

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