The Cave

by Paul Tran

Someone standing at the mouth had
 the idea to enter. To go further
  
 than light or language could
 go. As they followed
 the idea, light and language followed
  
 like two wolves—panting, hearing themselves
 panting. A shapeless scent
 in the damp air ...
 Keep going, the idea said.
  
 Someone kept going. Deeper and deeper, they saw
 others had been there. Others had left
  
 objects that couldn’t have found their way
 there alone. Ocher-stained shells. Bird bones. Grounded
 hematite. On the walls,
  
 as if stepping into history, someone saw
 their purpose: cows. Bulls. Bison. Deer. Horses—
 some pregnant, some slaughtered.
  
 The wild-
 life seemed wild and alive, moving
  
 when someone moved, casting their shadows
 on the shadows stretching
 in every direction. Keep going,
  
 the idea said again. Go ...
  
 Someone continued. They followed the idea so far inside that
 outside was another idea.
Paul Tran They/Them

Paul Tran is a Vietnamese-American poet, activist, and historian. Since 2013, Paul has coached the poetry slam teams at Brown University, Barnard College & Columbia University, and Washington University in St. Louis.

Paul was the first Asian American since 1993—and first transgender poet ever—to win the Nuyorican Poets Cafe Grand Slam, placing top 10 at the Individual World Poetry Slam and top 2 at the National Poetry Slam. A two-time winner of the Rustbelt Poetry Slam, Paul has served as Poet-in-Residence at Urban Word NYC and head poetry slam coach at Urban Arts Alliance in St. Louis, which won the Brave New Voices Grand Slam Championship in 2019.

About awakinOAK

Intentionally located in east Oakland -- to, on the one hand, overcome institutionalized violence and on the other hand, be showered by the multicultural love and wisdom from neighbors-- this small community strives for integral nonviolence and supports activities that foster fearlessness, courage, autonomy, unconditional love and compassion for all beings. Every Friday for the last 10 years, the anchors of Awakin Oakland, host "Wednesdays on Fridays", an open-house meditation night that was inspired by a family in Santa Clara who has been doing this for close to 23 years [2020] No teachers or gurus. No set agendas or proposed beliefs either. Just one strong principle -- when you change within, the world changes
This entry was posted in ARTivism, Awakin Oakland, fearlessness, natural philosophy, poetry, WednesdaysOnTuesdays and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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