spoken word by orooj-e-zafar
RE: “You will finally know why storms are named after people.”
I would perform story upon story for you
if you felt the worn soles of my shoes
the familiar way I wear yours. I would,
if I knew you could hear.
I will not ask you if you can hear me--
before sound is lost to the earth's atmosphere
it rises to become energy the universe can translate
into light-bulb revelation;
you can hear me
and I know you choose not to.
Before you say I'll be a stage name to the next apocalypse
and I call you a poor imitator, know that it took my parents
two weeks of uninterrupted thought to conjure a name
worthy of my sake.
Storms make cameo appearances but I am cosmic
energy, resonating in your stirrups for decades
to come, even
if you don't know it yet. See,
rage you call Katrina, I call amnesty;
trust that you call fickle, I call battle-ready.
Name me a survivor and I'll write you
an epic till their last breaths and then some;
battles don't see the end of the night
and if you saw the ends of my fingertips
you would never run out of stories to read.
I would show you every strain in the bulk
of my muscles if I knew you were watching.
I would listen for the beat of your spine
if I knew your heart knows what it is to thaw--
if you called me a storm, I would write you a poem
only to show you
what aftershocks look like,
how the soles of your feet
hug the ground like fallen arches -
like bridges that never saw the fire