A letter to remind myself who I am

By Shane Koyczan
Read by Sky Hawkins

Dear me,

this is you

get up

the ground is your reward
it will hold you when you are done
cancel all forks
you are not done
put a silencing finger to the lips
of all singing fat ladies
this is not over

reel in all finish lines
steal the sound of the metal ringing
hanging in the air
and put it back in the bell
one more round we go

get up

there are sunsets that need to be signed off on
snowfalls that need your approval
starry nights
like sad lovers
whose beauty has gone unnoticed
in the glare of television sets

they are looking for volunteers to notice them
raise your hand
step forward
you will not be chastised for staring
some beauty wants to be seen

get up
as if the simple act of standing
has brought you closer to the cosmos
than you have ever previously been
as if all the stars you’ve seen
have been busy looking back
taking notes and keeping track of which wishes need granting
they heard you ask for strength
so show them you haven’t wasted it
get up
despite gravity
with her magnetic arms
coaxing your metal dreams away from flight
despite everything that will be said
to weaken you against
the towering odds
that stand before you
like a mountain
kissing vertigo into your grip
and daring you to look down

not out of stubbornness
not out of a need to demonstrate
the depth of will it takes
to carry on

but because
you owe you one

you owe you one
for every second you ever spent
painting skulls onto white flags
and rescuing yourself from even the option of surrender

for every instant
you rebuilt your heart
using smiles salvaged from the grateful faces of those who you reminded how to laugh

now laugh
because one time in the middle of sex
she asked you to pretend you were a manatee
and you did
and it was then
as it is now
okay to laugh

your lungs will fill
like the bank accounts of the corrupt

your lungs will collapse
like backyard tents
after ghost stories and strange noises
dear me
there will be another breath
dear me
silence is not a song
you should know all the words to
dear me
this is you

sidestep calamity
like a matador
taking on a bullet

as if the sun has taken a day off
and hired you as its substitute
leaving behind its lesson plan
and a world full of students who can see no practical value
in what you are teaching
teach them

today's lesson is the same as everyday before it
because the class has been struggling with this assignment
you must teach this by example

so hand out sunglasses
and do not dim yourself
for the sake of their comfort
the world is practiced in demanding
that those who can cast light
not do it with such radiance

show them the falling stars
dripping onto the horizon
like drops of sky
brewing new days
from the fresh grounds of last night

some people require more light than others
make extra

dear me
is you

sincerely yours


*Selected for the 2022 Bloomsday Film Festival*

Directed by Matthew Thompson.

Written by Shane Koyczan.
Twitter: @koyczan
IG: shane_koyczan
Youtube: ShaneKoyczan