Monday, November 8, 2010

A reason to perform

After the last writing class, our teacher Mark Matousek sent the following poem by Stephen Dunn to us:

A Secret Life
Why you need to have one
is not much more mysterious than
why you don't say what you think
at the birth of an ugly baby.
Or, you've just made love
and feel you'd rather have been
in a dark booth where your partner
was nodding, whispering yes, yes,
you're brilliant. The secret life
begins early, is kept alive
by all that's unpopular
in you, all that you know
a Baptist, say, or some other
accountant would object to.
It becomes what you'd most protect
if the government said you can protect
one thing, all else is ours.
When you write late at night
it's like a small fire
in a clearing, it's what
radiates and what can hurt
if you get too close to it.
It's why your silence is a kind of truth.
Even when you speak to your best friend,
the one who'll never betray you,
you always leave out one thing;
a secret life is that important.
Reading the poem made me think of performing, and how it connects to the secret world:
In a perfect world, wouldn’t you wish to find 
just a few kindred spirits 
with whom you could share your secret world-
or at least parts of it
without being hurt.
That’s why I perform.
Those who understand will get the message
and those who don’t,
can’t hurt me.

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