Poemage to Trisha Brown


Now that our Trisha Brown adventure has wrapped up, I look at my own tumultuous period dancing her work—from being injured, to healing, to re-injury, to some healing again—and notice how my physicality has colored my experience. Below are two poems, the first from a more personal perspective as a dancer under full capacity, and the second inspired by and retracing the imagery I found dancing Newark.


Before the Rainmaker



Back to this, where I’m not

girl or robot but only another


casualty in Bolivia’s water

war. They cut off my foot


again, and a small price

to pay—they laughed. For


what? For the chance

to balance a ten-foot pole


on my head in a dance, or

not a dance, but a game—


hold on, we called, hold

on, we echoed—now move.





Tales beneath the Newark Surf



The car makes a three-point-turn while the guard

raises the flag—the tide rises high but we


toss a beach  ball to a seagull who catches

only the spraying ocean and the horseshoe crab


scuttling just ahead of his tail. Swordfish, table,

lazy Susan—what we become today, when


either a game of leapfrog or the strong wind

turning the sail threatens to capsize us, and either


way the storm spits us overboard, but we are

our own buoys, reeling into land, reviving our


salty lips with honey water before we fly a kite

that always tangles in its own tail. Put the kite


away now, Jimmy, the dog barks, staking out his

hole and chasing away his intruding tail. The dog


rolls into a slow-speed squirrel chase as if death

were no different than a sticks and hoops game. I am


napping in the sun again, on my other cheek

now, until I spot a skipper rock—but a skipping


boy announces himself king of our sandcastle,

the king, who is but a little man, racing to the tide


then backing away again—too icy for sand-scarred

toes. The sundial keeps moving past white-hot sand


so we duck from the rays, while the dolphin spins

out, flipping for a fish and disappearing underwater


where they buried me—under sand, water and myself.

Shake the sand away and back-dive—I’m holding my


breath and jumping up for air on my water

wings. Flamingoes are my favorite birds—the head


in the neck, peeking side to side and stretching

for a sneak attack to scoop a fish and stretching


to swallow him, tired from eating, the flamingo

shakes off slick water, her quick webbed foot-ball-


change. If I flew I would be as long as time, but my

knees are knobbly. Remember when they marched


in the monkeys—monkeys in propeller hats, who were

almost little men, except for their forever-long tails.