In-Depth Look: Soups – “The Dark Side of Being Mixed”
Appreciating poetry is often about patience: sitting with a poem, meditating on it, and re-reading it multiple times. With spoken word, we don’t always get a chance to do that. This series is about taking that chance, and diving a little deeper into some of the new poems going up on Button.
“That’s when you’ll be forced to swallow the truth. It will taste expired.”
Write-up by Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre
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One thing we often talk about in writing/performance workshops is how important a poem’s first and last lines are. This is true for many kinds of art, but takes on special importance in spoken word, where grabbing the audience’s attention right away– and also leaving them with something that sticks– can help to mitigate the effects of the audience’s inevitable wandering attention.
My first home was inside the womb of a white woman is such an evocative, gripping first line, and perfectly sets up the central question/idea that the piece grapples with: how racism can affect– and infect– even the closest of relationships. The poem starts by talking about that effect in terms of other people’s perceptions, but then powerfully transitions into sharing stories and scenes that show how that effect isn’t just about other people’s perceptions– there is a kind of distance created by privilege, by pop culture, by this country’s white supremacist history, that can’t be fully bridged no matter how loving the personal relationship.
That leads us to the closing line: She will always have the choice of being either weapon or shield, and all I will ever be is target. This line works on an emotional/relationship level, bringing the poem full-circle, but it also works on a larger, political level: it captures something profound about the idea of allyship. Even the most committed allies, the people bound not just by principle but by real love to those they choose to stand in solidarity with, still have the freedom (and privilege) to make that choice..
While you’re here on our site, make sure to check out our books and merchandise in the Button Store, including Guante’s own book, as well as titles by Danez Smith, Neil Hilborn, Donte Collins, Sabrina Benaim, Melissa Lozada-Oliva, William Evans, Rudy Francisco, Stevie Edwards, Claire Schwartz, & our newest release from Guante!