There is discomfort in the length, breath, width, movement of silence.

What does silence look like?


On a different night than this one, a stage is covered with dancers. Smooth skinned spandex’d movers lifting and lunging and plunging their bodies into a room where orchestra pit has been gutted and abandoned.

I listen to their bandaged, ballet’d feet curve and cringe against the wooden planks of the stage. I hear the stretch of limbs, the lift of bodies, the rocking of bones, the tapping of heels.


A cough.

And then another.

And another.

And (gasp) a cell phone ring?

Setting: The ballet.
Audience: A room full of too many white people and I look down at my mismatched odd choice of outfit and wonder if my economic class is louder than the absence of percussion and strings.
Contemplation: I am suddenly too aware of what I don’t have. I don’t own high heels or dress with beaded casing. My shoes are Converse and my legs are covered in hair and bruises. I am high on the elegance of what bodies can pronounce. I want to feverishly write in my notebook, but instead clasp my hands together and engage in single-tasking, replacing my “normal” multi-tasking lifestyle.

These dancers do not need music. Their rhythm is in their ankle twists and twirled exclamations. And then I think about my love of bike-riding. How music plugged into ears was replaced by spontaneous outbursts of singing. I belt out improvisational songs when I pedal past commuters and Brooklyn walkers. The music is inside me; the music is inside them.

And when the stories/movements are incomplete, I fill in the gaps. I study humanism on subway trains and commemorate existence through deep intentional stares. I weep when someone else does and wish I could turn my body into an enormous tissue to wipe all the troubles away.

At a poetry reading on a night different than this one, a poet exclaimed:
“How do I make myself a body/ How do I make myself less crowded?”

In silence, we find these answers because we are offered enough time to take in what is seen without the distractions of sound.

I am cleaning out the cupboards in my skin folds.
I am dusting out the remains of someone else.
I am daring my mind to shout quiet and instead, answer you with my body.