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this
  time

(a chorus
of femmes)

Brian Dang

Listen to Brian Dang and their friend Noah read "this time".

There’s a window we look through and this time

it has been shattered by a bullet

 

meant for us. We look through and this time

we see the trees as they shake

 

reminding us we are shaking and bleeding out

but we do it together in tempo to make music

 

with our bodies. It is human to shake. This time

we hold on so we don’t slip through

 

the cracks of each other’s fingers like time

and time again we ask if we can stop running

 

out of time. We are tired of waiting for time

to make us martyrs. We stopped time

 

with our own bare hands to wrestle nostalgia

and dreams into the world because our time

 

is now. We are dreaming and nostalgic for now.

Now is the time we hurtle towards

 

a choice that will last the rest of our time

on Earth. We choose to be together

 

for time immemorial plus one day

where we take the time to put away

 

the kettle (bless its horn) and fold the linens

one last time and say goodbye

 

to the coal in the kitchen one last time and goodbye

to the skin peeling off from ragged hands

 

on ragged rags or maybe we just actually burn

it all down to save time and when we serve

 

we serve ourselves since our time is finally

ours to do what we will. Spending

 

time is a false phrase. It fools us

into thinking we can’t hold

 

time together as if it doesn’t flower

and fruit at the same time

 

when we hold each other. No more waiting

for enough time to kiss each other

 

for just a moment. We don’t need to stoop

to stealing time from another’s clock

 

whose face cannot dare conceive of a time

where we have everything we want to hold

 

forever to look at the stars as we lay our heads

onto each other forever and we feel

 

ourselves into something like forever and some

say forever is a long time but it is only

 

a moment in comparison to what it means

when we keep each other

 

close to traverse the narrow sliver of time

given to us. When you are closer to nothing

 

you feel everything. Your entire lifetime flashes

before your very eyes and you feel

 

everything that passed through your body during

your time. There is no more time to be

 

standing idly by waiting for a more peaceful death

threat written in the stars by some reaper

 

who clocks us closer to death than a life worth

living. Keep that time away from us. Fracture

 

time. Mangle time. And above all else, eat it

and feel full. Feel ready. Feel

 

eased. Breathe. We breathe at the speed of our bodies

and not a second faster. Spring comes

 

when it wants to come and we come

when we want to come. We will be there

 

to see Spring because this time,

in the end, we live.

 

We live

and live

and live

and live

and live

and live!

Brian Dang (they/them) is a Vietnamese/Chinese playwright, poet, and teaching artist. They are a resident playwright at Parley and were a 2020-21 Hugo House Fellow. For Brian, playwriting is an act of envisioning an eventual communing, an opportunity to freeze time as we know it, and a reaching for joy. Their writing has been supported by 4Culture, Seattle Office of Arts and Culture, and workshopped with Seattle Opera, Pork Filled Productions, Mirror Stage, Karen’s Secret Army, Theatre Battery, and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. They teach with Writers in the Schools & Arts Corps. Find more of their work at brianeatswords.com.

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