An Exercise in Ritual (poem)
We gather here together in this sacred circle like we always have
Here, around this fire that has always burned
The same fire that lives in our bellies and makes an inferno of our hearts
This spirit we summon
This beauty we conjure
This inventiveness we invoke
What is a vessel but a carrier of the coveted?
A transmitter of quintessence
A conduit of culture
Come and meet us at the place where ritual is given a body
Where ceremony is given a face
Where our existence transfigures into a song we warble in unison
For he who sharpens his imagination is a visionary
She who gives shape to intuition is a prophet
They who hone mortality beseech the immortal
Look at what we are building together
We, the masons of reimagining
The architects of metamorphosis
The repositories of our collective consciousness
Blessed be the makers!
The ones who set themselves ablaze to warm the masses
The ones who traverse the unknown giving life to the unseen
Join us as we turn ourselves inside out
Watch as we illuminate what kindles inside our bones
Marvel as we paint with colors that do not yet exist
These places where we find and lose ourselves at the same time
These messages we devise with purpose
These aesthetics we mold from the supple clay of our minds
Join us at these holy places of abandon
These playgrounds of ingeniousness
These geneses of more-inspired tomorrows
For who does not admire a flower unfolding?
Who does not feel the warmth of the sun shining boldly upon their face?
Whose feet do not move at the coaxing of the drum’s sound?
Here, where we live, boundaries and the impossible do not have a name
Here, fear and failure suffocate under the weight of creation
Here, convention is an earth-covered tombstone rotting in the wind
Blessed be the creatives!
The ones predisposed to questioning
The ones with an immoderate hunger for understanding
Come and meet us at a new juncture where expression devoid of consciousness is merely decoration
Where art is an insistent incubator for justice
Where equity and access are an altar we decorate with the flowers of promise and purpose
For what is it to highlight the margins but to attempt to balance the scales?
What is a raised fist, but a war cry in the language of the purposely silenced?
What is dissent, but an innate aversion to the confines of the status quo?
Blessed be the disruptors!
Those who shape-shift paradigms—and dwell in the fourth dimension
Those who pull their roots from the ground and wrap them around the hearts and minds of an audience
Those who open doors not built for all to pass through
Art and culture are a communal land that do not know borders
A common language we are all born speaking fluently
A right that has been paraded around as a privilege for far too long
Come and help us rip the esoteric from the sky
Let our hands reach for the stars
and share their tangible glow with anyone drawn to their light
Come and explore with us our insatiable thirst for wonder
May untamed bewilderment be our guide
And here, we will all shine and wander together
Here we will eradicate all of the man-made barriers we impose upon one another
This beautiful burden we carry
This responsibility tethered to our pens, pirouettes, paint, percussion, and performance
These hands unearthing the truth
These markers of humanity that remind us that we are here;
that we are alive
that we always have been,
and that we will always will be
Copyright © 2019 Bobby LeFebre. Commissioned by Bonfils-Stanton Foundation for its 2019 Annual Awards.
Bobby LeFebre is an award-winning writer, performer, and cultural and social worker fusing a non-traditional multi-hyphened professional identity to imagine new realities, empower communities, advance arts and culture, and serve as an agent of provocation and social transformation, equity and change. LeFebre currently serves as Colorado’s Poet Laureate.