The Show Tell Project

For Seymour's Fat Lady

Tag: photo

Of Empowerment

by fyarlgiles

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Being in a gi again.

Tying my belt, again.

The meditation, knelt, eyes closed

As on the precipice of a great plunge.

 –

I am changed now :

My skin is not as young,

Not quite as pretty as I was.

My joints not quite as limber.

But my sweat still smells the same.

A clenched fist – remembered – is the same.

“A fist is a fist is a fist.”

Five years ago, when I began, tying my white belt, that’s what they said.

And now, dusting off my green-brown, I hear again

And again:

“A fist

is a fist

is a fist”.

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I look at my fist.

I remember keeping my nails short.

I remember wearing no makeup with confidence.

I remember

Balance

and

I could defend myself

if I had to.

Bowing into this keyhold door,

This is my dojo

my school

my home.

Deep somewhere in the roots beneath the floor boards

and the fibers of the carpet

is engrained my sweat

and my blood

and my tears

And there is magic here

underfoot

Because it is here I first saw

The glimmers of who is my true self.

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And I miss it

As a tree after a drought might remember its first bloom.

A level of introspection unparalleled as

what you do when a punch is coming at you.

I miss the intimacy of Kumite

Because to fight in this way is to know someone better

than a lover might know one.

I set my hands on guard,

I look you in the eyes,

and it is essential that I know you.

A strike and block exchanged —

The wing of a crane

or The bite of a snake,

and I know you.

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Oh, and I would rake as tigers claws might do.

I flew on wings and “rode the wind”.

My feet they moved as leopards do.

“A fist is a fist is a fist.”

And over clenched fist is set

an open one.

This means “Peace over Power”

To temper jagged steel

as I might have been.

But I’m back now. Things are different,

as I’ve said —

Ephemeral things like

the skin around the eyes.

But there are other things that are just the same.

And in these timeless stances,

That’s where I will find myself.

Untitled Martial Arts Poem by Vanessa Cate

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The Problem With Blue

by fyarlgiles

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The problem with blue

is that it

 plumps up my lips with

the fatty fluff

of

petulance

until I am a beautiful beast—

-coddled-

– admired-

————-and loving it so

“I am Woman. Hear me Whine”  by Angie Hoover-Hillhouse

Gold & Pearls by Jenny Liz Rome

Never have I ever

by fyarlgiles

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At 12 I didn’t have that

homoerotic

best friendship that I’ve

seen in movies–

I never eased my sweaty

palm into yours

and we never

shared powdery-pink

kisses during sleepovers

just for practice.

I always slept on my side

clinging to a small square of

purple sheet

instead of with you

forehead

to forehead

in a sea of plush blankets

You were always different.

Sometimes Lisa

sometimes Brie

Jenny, Mia, Amy

and those faces in between.

and I always felt alone with you

because we never touched.

–all of you so far away

and me too

smart to reach.

But

I choose to have

your girlish warmth–

—lipstick—

— secrets—

youth

A mirage of adolescent love

to make myself

feel

whole

by Angie Hoover-Hillhouse

The Day After Samantha

by fyarlgiles

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the sting of her

flickers

in my sleepy

heart

for days.

— eyelashes

batting slowly

— golden collarbones

rising

and resting—–

 like

bright,

 blinking

blurs of

what Life

————--should be

– ” The Day After Samantha” by Angie Hoover-Hillhouse

Artwork: Native Elephant by Cassidy Rae Limbach

What I’ve got they used to call the Blues

by fyarlgiles

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the spirit of her

chaste

young

body

rests behind my slanted eyes—

a geisha

with

porcelain skin

and a heart painted onto

her

voiceless mouth.–

so graceful

as she

dances with paper fans

in silky robes.

—sleep —

—sleep—

For I am strong.

A woman

with feet unbound.

Legs bare

hands free.

And she

is

–a face

weak

and wading

in the milky water

Sunday Morning by Angie Hoover-Hillhouse

Artwork: The Porcelain Mist by Elle Hanley Photography

I am a Professional Zombie VOL. II

by fyarlgiles

Alright, so, why do I do it? Am I stalling answering the question for dramatic effect? Or because of the much more likely reason. That I don’t really have any idea.

There is a show called “URBAN DEATH”. Taking place late at night in the terrifying city of North Hollywood, for the past ten years, this theatrical shows spends one hour staring into the human psyche. And that’s how I got into this mess.

What began simply as an actor’s risk transformed into so much more. Not only the most physically challenging show I’ve ever done, but with the biggest following (you don’t stay in the theater biz in L.A. for ten years without being onto something). I did my first run of it a about three years ago. And it lasted nine and a half grueling months. In more time than it takes to conceive and deliver a baby, I had devoted my body and being to the stage in the most horrific of circumstances.

First, it was the fear that went.

The fear of death. The fear of looking ugly or silly. All of these were torn from me in the rehearsals and performances. It got to the point where I could be absolutely naked, in front of an audience of strangers, wearing nothing but stage make-up and fake blood, and feel nothing by alive and liberated.

When the nine and a half months were over, I was glad to finally stop though. It was time, I said. I’m so tired, I said.

What I didn’t realize was the instant withdrawal I would go through. What I didn’t realize at the time was that Urban Death had become my weekly catharsis.

Here’s how it works : Saturday night — I get to the theater, and in a rushed, cramped backstage, I slather myself, full body, with blood and make up. My perfectly shaped eyebrows are drawn over. My mouth is scarred. My hair is sprayed down with water and caked with dirt. I dig blood under my fingernails. Bloody my knees. Put dark circles around my eyes. Disfigure myself to the point of repulsion. On bad nights, I’ll even add a few more cuts and cashes, at the neck or the wrist most usually, or scratch or bite marks on my face and chest – a hint as to how I may have died.

Lights up : A pile of rotting corpses lays dead, almost at the feet of the live audience. The actors hold their breath. With my eyes closed, I can still hear the audience in their inevitable gasp, the shuffle of their feet as they stand to get a better look. Right away, the audience is amazed.

Eternities pass. I am dead. My actor’s mind works in my subconscious. It knows how to lay, the timing of the piece, the awareness of how I look. But for me, I am dead.

And finally, the spark. A spark so small, even zombie-me is not aware of it at first. A twitch in the finger. Then another. The body convulses slightly. And suddenly, something happens. I shake, and my eyes burst open, but I can’t see like how I did when I was alive. I can move. I can see. I can feel – but only hunger and pain. I am dead.

Slowly we rise. And the audience, I imagine, shrinks back into their seats, holds their partners’ hands, and wonders how far we will go.

After being a zombie, I run backstage, and in less than a minute I take off all of my carefully applied make up. In an instant it is gone, and that is my catharsis. Like real life and death, I made myself perfect, I died on the stage, and then I move on, with nothing to hold onto.

I suppose that’s the life of theater in general. But something about being a zombie : there is a glorious, natural ugliness, a hunger and an ache that matches my own, and a commitment to being the most base of human characteristics.

I don’t know why all of you like zombies so much. Without the fun of being covered in make-up and walking around with strong, twitching limbs, I’m not sure the appeal, but I have an idea.

I think the greatest villains and monsters are those that we can relate to. The surge in popularity with vampires is different. They have become relatable, the anti-heros that we can lust after with ease. Zombies are different.

There is nothing human about them any longer. And yet, we can all see something of ourselves in them. That, I believe is their enduring power. In a way, we all feel like zombies already. Our decreasing connectivity to each other, to nature. Our impending apocalypse, coming at us from all directions, whether it be a loss of our humanity as we submerge into a cyber era, or the slow destruction of the earth to the point in the not-so-distant-future where it may be uninhabitable, to the cancer that we have surely experienced in somebody in our lives, to our own self images, and everything in between.

The joy of zombie narrative is the hope that we can defeat it, and the strange, terrible comfort that we never will.

by Vanessa Cate

Perhaps

by fyarlgiles


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Would I have control over you

even if I could?

For perhaps, it is your challenge that poses me

in red robes

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And makes me stare in such a smoldering,

calculating

manner.

“Untitled” by Vanessa Cate 

Artwork: Severe Art by Ruben Ireland & Ddm by Hugo Barros

Hide and Seek

by fyarlgiles

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search for me

in crisp, light flakes

of ash

that  perch

on sills

beneath the bludgeoned clouds,

for snuffed out fires

always warn

of my suffocating

steps

“Now, You See Me” by Angie Hoover-Hillhouse

Judgement by Anyes Galleani

Loaded Quotes: Bloody Ambition

by fyarlgiles

She danced, and was obliged to go on dancing through the dark night. The shoes bore her away over thorns and stumps till she was all torn and bleeding; she danced away over the heath to a lonely little house. Here, she knew, lived the executioner; and she tapped with her finger at the window and said:

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‘Come out, come out! I cannot come in, for I must dance.’

 And the executioner said: ‘I don’t suppose you know who I am. I strike off the heads of the wicked, and I notice that my axe is tingling to do so. “Don’t cut off my head!’ said Karen, ‘for then I could not repent of my sin. But cut off my feet with the red shoes.’

Excerpt from  ” The Red Shoes” by  Hans Christian Anderson

—————————————————————————

An enchanting woman whose feet have been hacked to bloody stumps is an image of humanity that comforts me.

Let me explain. 

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We are all complex mixtures  of beauty and horror, pain and delight, greed and charity. But there is such a cry for dichotomies in western culture, that we tend to ignore this.  It’s simple!! Pretty is pretty, and Yucky is yucky, now let’s all get ice cream sandwiches!!

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But there is no pretending when it comes to Karen.   The crude image of her perfect body sitting atop bloody mutilated legs makes her brokenness impossible to hide. And isn’t that sort of honesty liberating? Sometimes, I feel like my body is a lie I tell to anyone who is capable of seeing me. It is young, functional, it has no apparent deformities, and it conceals my self-loathing. It’s nice sometimes because I never truly feel vulnerable, but it breeds a lot insecurity. If no one sees me for what I am, how can I ever truly feel accepted?

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I think that a lot of people will say that this story is about how vanity can ruin you and blablabl..  more oppressive ideas about female sexuality professed by the catholic church… but I have always seen it as a tale about facing the good, the bad, and the bloody within yourself.

The truth isn’t simple; It is a young girl who looks gorgeous from the waste up, but is forced to hobble around on the ghosts of her own feet.

Angie

Harmless

by fyarlgiles

I am not mean

enough

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——————— or honest enough

to stew in

real

depravity.