It’s quiet. All artificial lights and an assortment of linoleum and cheap wood floors all painted black. Every surface imaginable bodes scuffs and scrapes from set pieces: the old couch that’s been on the brink of the goodwill pile since I was a sophomore, the stack of chairs that gets smaller in numbers by the semester, a loose binder, a repurposed file cabinet, even a few bobby pins.
The door to the men’s dressing room swings open lackadaisically. The sound of chatter spills out in between swings. It opens–missed the line so I just–shuts again. Their conversation is reduced to pendulums of uneven sentence fragments, and the heat and vigor from the vanity lights escapes in between, the hops in their voices swimming behind.
The only life in sight: the “E” flashing in the exit sign a few feet above my eye line. It’s almost my entrance. But I’ll stay here for a little longer.
It’s quiet again. My new favorite sound is the deep “clack clack” of character shoes against the cracks in the floor. Following that, the swishing of a 60’s dress pulled out of a rusty closet, now displayed proudly, drained by stage lights. It’s lost its brightness. Almost.
Spread the Fire is a Youth Speaks workshop series facilitated by YS Poet Mentor, Hieu Minh Nguyen. The series aims to demystify the publishing side of poetry. In the workshop, poets learn how to refine and prepare their poems for publication. The fire you spit on stage, can also scorch the page. Burning down the borders between page and stage, poets learn how their poems can gain a new life by accessing a readership through publishing.