Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman saved us on January 21 as she showed us the sweeping landscape of our fragile democracy, our place in it and our responsibility to its well-being. She did this using one of the most powerful tools: the spoken word. Amanda Gorman saved us not because she is a savior but because she used that which is. Poetry is a mirror that achieves what only art can: it reflects both the inner to the outer and the outer to the inner at the same time using the heart as the necessary bridge that binds the two together.
As she stood there with the sun shinning upon her gold dusted eyes, I was mesmerized, a sign that the art was achieving its alchemy. My ears stayed with her lips as I left my body and found myself in the small theatres of Minneapolis whose stages held the feet of one slam poet after another during my first ever National Poetry Slam competition several lifetimes ago. It was an assualt on the senses then like it was on Thursday, a necessary assualt that hoses down the cobwebs of a stagnant life gone unknown to the one living it. I didn’t realize how parched I was, how dry my mouth was, until the water of her words quenched my thirst.
I have always been a patron of the arts because its importance was seeded into my childhood by my parents, who unbeknownst to them, were artists. I now carry their torch. Though this pandemic has desimated the arts economy it has not and it cannot kill the art because art is not of this world. It is the artist who extends her antenna into the atomosphere and patiently waits for the transmission. Then, using her unique creative methods, relays that divine broadcast to the ones below.
Every town has it’s broadway. Every town has its stages. Every town has its stars. Every town has artists disguised as citizens. Every town has been enriched by the arts and by the ones whose lives are dedicated to creating it. We are but dust without them both.