While standing in the line to get inside,
the rain makes a surprise appearance
this may be one of the few time I don’t mind it

I remember the first tuesday spent here
when my Chicago soul ended up on a Los Angeles street at the recommendation of a new friend and then
somehow ended up on stage

I don’t recall details like I should but
the eager racing of my heart every time I walk through the door speaks volumes, says I know why you feel the way you do
that moment of hearing myself speak for the first time is still new

on the nights like this where I don’t read
I still feel an energy that reminds me of a certain comfort
my hands still shake through the excitement of just existing

my stomach, a drain of stories, was used to swallowing whole without chewing
this is where I learned how to digest my past

I trade smiles with strangers who are just realizing their ability to do the same

if you were to ask anyone who has ever sat on this stage, in these seats, why they choose to join this cluttered convention of hearts in such a small space,
they would probably pause,
smile and answer something along the crooked lines of,
“you just have to be there to understand”

and you do
there is a magic in the air that you can’t bottle
instead you hold your breath through a busy week to
make it to the next
in order to experience it again

there is no language that could describe this place where
we each speak our own yet somehow
still understand each other
this is the place I cannot put an adjective to,
there is no metaphor for what experience can offer

this is the place where my cheeks turn fire in the best way possible
the rhythm of my chest is faster than it is in fear, unexplainable

this is where my tuesday night becomes weekend
this is where my empty becomes whole
this is where Yesika forms full moons with her words and the softness of her voice echoes against the hollow of the theatre lights
this is where the power of black stories remind my whiteness how necessary vocality is
this is where I found myself bare under a spotlight for the first time over a year ago and
this is where I discovered that bareness doesn’t have to be a bad thing

I know how it sounds
sitting on a stage in a dim room with strangers
listening for an hour and a half to a story that isn’t yours but
the best way to find yourself is in the words of another
this is where I find myself
again and again
this is where I come whenever I am lost

If you were to ask me why
I could only say

you just have to be there
to understand.

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