I have been thinking a lot about lists. And I have been thinking a lot about reasons. What inspires us to make the choices we make? Many weeks ago I started compiling lists of lines of poetry, not full poems themselves, but simply lists of one line each that one-day could belong to a poem. And I started to think: all my lists of lines had themes, had reasons behind them, reflected how I was feeling. It was impossible to separate the list from myself, and thus the lists became reflections of myself in the moment of their creation. With this realization I found I could experiment in making a multi-dimensional self. One that wasn’t me, and actually wasn’t anyone, but was made out of the lists of as many people as I could convince to give me their words, and by combining them I could create some sort of universal, shared, yet nonexistent person.
I believe we all have similar impulses, but different experiences and reasons that cause the impulse. We cannot always connect on reason, but I think we can connect on impulse, on what the reason sparks within us. So, with this poetry project that is what I tried to do. I asked people to entrust me with their reasons, and gave them a prompt. The first prompt was “Reasons to Run Away and Never Come Back”. I sent a message and I waited. Soon, I received responses from New York, Utrecht, Washington D.C and Berlin, over 100 in total. From that 100 I tried my best to curate a list that covered all the topics, to create one person united by all of our experiences, and to see this person’s life through only their impulses. And this is what I found.
Reasons to Run Away and Never Come Back
- Because You have named all the clouds here
- Because you’ve started smoking to impress a boy
- Because they knew you too well
- Because the silence between us is the loudest sound I have ever known
- Because maybe it is possible to never be in the shade
- Because I can’t risk seeing your face.
- Because it’s my birthday and the sun won’t come out
- Because my room never feels like home
- Because you have to do what scares you
- Because The sun came out and it doesn’t feel like my birthday
- Because the weird, orangey color of the sky makes you feel like the apocalypse is happening every night
- Because there must be more than this. More than this. There must. There must. Be more.
- Because starting a farm sounds appealing
- Because the only way is forward
- Because people might give more hugs in other countries
- Because I need to see who will follow
- Because coming back would result in too many fears and no where to put them
- Because my closets are organized, my basement is well-lit, my attic is purged, my front door is fortified. Because I stand on the parapets of our life with a slingshot and creamy white stone in my mouth
- Because you have named all the fears here
- Because you own your life (and a lot of the time you can actually come back. Remember that)