Pause: Lincoln High Slam Poets at TEDxLincoln

Translator: Mohand Habchi
Reviewer: Denise RQ I would write a love poem,
but I’ve never been in love. Paul says to write
about something I hate, yet I’m not sure how to make
my hatred eloquent. Westboro Baptist Church,
mushrooms, and inequality provoke less sophisticated
languages than I’m fond of. But I was inspired
once, twice, a few times. Sometimes I see things
and they make me pause. They stop my thoughts,
and all I feel is my beating heart. I see criss-crossed scars
on the wrists of my closest friends. They’re razor blades
turned into Zeus’s lightning bolt. I pause. I see a woman standing by her car, and the picture
on my computer screen bent, too distraught for tears, with her phone held to her ear
and her hand pressed to her chest. She doesn’t know if her sister, a teacher
at Sandy Hook Elementary School, survived. I hear her voice. “What do you mean you don’t know?”
It says, “Tell me,” it begs, “Tell me!” And I pause because I don’t know what else to do. I see hundreds of Nebraskans holding
candles in a vigil against violence, united in sorrow, called to action,
and even if that hate crime was staged, that solidarity wasn’t. Pause. I see 8 year old me being told, “We can’t be friends anymore
because you’re Jewish.” Pause. I see two young boys’ petition
to make their boy scout troop, troops around the nation accept them not
reject them because they’re gay; pause. I hear stories of thousands of men
and women rising up in India against rape, turning a tragedy into a symbol for hope. Pause. I stop and I identify, empathize. The Earth spins fast, and it’s a ride
we can’t get off easily, but we can pause temporarily halting speech and action. Plays without intermissions
are overwhelming, and so is life, so surround yourself with
something that will make you break away, from your mechanized logic, rote actions,
and take a moment to feel, to understand. Wait a moment, and cease to be
a cog in a machine, and be a being, a soul. People always say,
“Go, go go, stand up and do. Make something, change something.” I’ll write a love poem to the world
and maybe we’ll discover that before we can create and reform, we have to learn to pause,
pause, pause, pause, together. (Applause)

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