An Exercise in Ritual (poem)

Bobby LeFebre

We gather here together in this sacred circle like we always have

Here, around this fire that has always burned

The same fire that lives in our bellies and makes an inferno of our hearts

This spirit we summon

This beauty we conjure

This inventiveness we invoke

What is a vessel but a carrier of the coveted?

A transmitter of quintessence

A conduit of culture

Come and meet us at the place where ritual is given a body

Where ceremony is given a face

Where our existence transfigures into a song we warble in unison

For he who sharpens his imagination is a visionary

She who gives shape to intuition is a prophet

They who hone mortality beseech the immortal

Look at what we are building together

We, the masons of reimagining

The architects of metamorphosis

The repositories of our collective consciousness

Blessed be the makers!

The ones who set themselves ablaze to warm the masses

The ones who traverse the unknown giving life to the unseen

Join us as we turn ourselves inside out

Watch as we illuminate what kindles inside our bones

Marvel as we paint with colors that do not yet exist

These places where we find and lose ourselves at the same time

These messages we devise with purpose

These aesthetics we mold from the supple clay of our minds

Join us at these holy places of abandon

These playgrounds of ingeniousness

These geneses of more-inspired tomorrows

For who does not admire a flower unfolding?

Who does not feel the warmth of the sun shining boldly upon their face?

Whose feet do not move at the coaxing of the drum’s sound?

Here, where we live, boundaries and the impossible do not have a name

Here, fear and failure suffocate under the weight of creation

Here, convention is an earth-covered tombstone rotting in the wind

Blessed be the creatives!

The ones predisposed to questioning

The ones with an immoderate hunger for understanding

Come and meet us at a new juncture where expression devoid of consciousness is merely decoration

Where art is an insistent incubator for justice

Where equity and access are an altar we decorate with the flowers of promise and purpose

For what is it to highlight the margins but to attempt to balance the scales?

What is a raised fist, but a war cry in the language of the purposely silenced?

What is dissent, but an innate aversion to the confines of the status quo?

Blessed be the disruptors!

Those who shape-shift paradigms—and dwell in the fourth dimension

Those who pull their roots from the ground and wrap them around the hearts and minds of an audience

Those who open doors not built for all to pass through

Art and culture are a communal land that do not know borders

A common language we are all born speaking fluently

A right that has been paraded around as a privilege for far too long

Come and help us rip the esoteric from the sky

Let our hands reach for the stars

grasp them

and share their tangible glow with anyone drawn to their light

Come and explore with us our insatiable thirst for wonder

May untamed bewilderment be our guide

And here, we will all shine and wander together

Here we will eradicate all of the man-made barriers we impose upon one another

This beautiful burden we carry

This responsibility tethered to our pens, pirouettes, paint, percussion, and performance

This work

This digging

These hands unearthing the truth

This joy

This beauty

This struggle

These songs

These testaments

These heirlooms

These markers of humanity that remind us that we are here;

that we are alive

that we always have been,

and that we will always will be

Copyright © 2019 Bobby LeFebre. Commissioned by Bonfils-Stanton Foundation for its 2019 Annual Awards.

Bobby LeFebre is an award-winning writer, performer, and cultural and social worker fusing a non-traditional multi-hyphened professional identity to imagine new realities, empower communities, advance arts and culture, and serve as an agent of provocation and social transformation, equity and change. LeFebre currently serves as Colorado’s Poet Laureate.