(un)becoming

Photo credit: Alexander Solomon

This poem was originally performed at The Prophet’s  “Tongues of Fire” spoken word event. 

By Alexander Solomon

I stole something from the market today,

a small piece of cheese
come all the way from Switzerland.
I think about it while you take a photo of me
in a pose that is indicative of a feeling
of the numbing of the night,
an icecube held in place a little too long,
a reddened patch of skin.
I deleted all my voice lessons.
They’re gone from my phone.
Almost fifteen hours of recordings
of a life I chose not to live
of a voice I chose to extinguish.
It’s amazing how a passion,
twelve years in the making,
can be blown out like a candle,
fading in a wisp of smoke,
leaving me darker,
or, like a blown-out tire,
flopping, shredding, and smashing on the pavement
until it comes to a slow, deflated halt,
leaving me stranded —
on the side of a Texas highway at midday with my father, stepmother, stepbrother
and a cooler full of bread, cheese, and veggie meat made to taste like smoked turkey.
You know what happens when you build a wall too high —
It comes crashing down.
The higher the wall, the harder the fall.

Alexander Solomon hails from the big little town of Omaha, Nebraska. Alex made his way to the Northeast in pursuit of a Master’s degree in classical vocal performance (which didn’t happen). As a student of music, Alex cultivated a love for poetry, and the power of writing to convey meaning and emotion, especially when it’s accompanied by the right tunes. As a student of theology, however, Alex recognizes the finicky and troublesome nature of language, its limits in making meaning, and the difficulty of communication, especially when speaking and writing across potentially vast differences. Sustained engagement, empathic witness, and truth-in-narrative drives Alex’s love for the oftentimes faulty expression of language we call the written word.

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