ICA Inspired Poem – You are a quinceanera

This is a poem inspired by a visit to the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia. I was moved by the atmosphere of the museum and compelled to write the following. We were to pick pieces from the current exhibition, and will be performing some of these poems beside the individual artworks. This poem was inspired by several portions of the ICA – the current Ruffneck Constructivists and ICA@50 exhibitions in particular.

You are a quinceanera

You are a quinceanera,
You dance between the lines and waves, scratch into your contours the feelings of movement,
A ballpoint boat on a ballpoint lake singing “help is on the way”.
So I can slip out of the dress that is made with a hundred million sequined beads
leave it to puddle in the middle of the floor. It holds onto the shape of my body
and I drown in it. But with scribbled secret notebooks, you come to my rescue
sketch a rope and throw it to me. I’ll feel the nib of your fountain pen clumsily make its way
after all this time. An archaic type of searching and retrieving.
I want to drag you out. I want to dance with you slowly to a fast paced song.
You are a quinceanera, you are a festival, you are out of control.
Party games have taken a turn for the stranger, and the strangers in the room mimic familiarity.
Besides all of this, dabbling in the occult always made me feel reckless.
But when my Ouija board is made of hands, and everyone and everything is pointing fingers in the wrong directions,
I can’t for the life of me understand what the purpose is, or why I’m missing it.
But there are open freeways and invitations for driving
And behind the wheel of a car, the journey always struck me as beautiful
Except for the time that I was driving to the dentist
and a woman rushed through a red light when I had the right of way
and the cars careening collided colluded
(with far less broken glass than I could have ever imagined)
and I called my father and told him everything.


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