OPENING NIGHT : An Empty Place at the Table – October 7, 2005
Candlelight Vigil honoring victims and survivors of domestic violence at 6:00 PM
Art Exhibition Opening from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM
Performance at 7:00 PM
Thomas T. Taber Museum, 858 West Fourth Street
An Empty Place at the Table, an exhibition honoring local victims of domestic violence, opened on October 7, 2005, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Thomas T. Taber Museum, 858 West Fourth Street, Williamsport. The program included opening remarks by Judge Kenneth Brown and performances by electric violinist Ritsu Katsumata, the Ebenezer Baptist Church Women’s Choir, and poets Beatrice Gamble, Rebecca Kinzie-Bastian and Laura Kittle.
||Ebenezer Women’s Choir is a group of women vocalists who perform regularly at Ebenezer Baptist Church. The choir, directed by Monica Freeman, has performed with National Gospel Recording artist Brent Jones.
||Beatrice Gamble has been writing poetry since she was 12 and singing since she could speak. She is currently writing a book about a very intimate and complex time in her life, entitled Born to Win...The Search Beyond The Struggle. Contact: email@example.com
In Memory of those who were so selfishly taken away
In Honor of those who survived to see a better day …
A LETTER TO MY FRIEND
What words cannot express, what explanations cannot describe,
Is the pain and confusion I felt, the night they told me that you died.
There were sighs of relief from a family member, justification from another friend,
Now she's with God they said, at least now her suffering has come to an end.
In my mind I could not comprehend, that I'd hear your laughter no more,
Or see your smiling face, when I'd open up my door.
What more could I have done for you, I keep asking myself, what more could I have said,
To convince you to do something different, maybe then you wouldn't be dead.
You know I tried to be supportive, to help you make it through,
But all the support in the world, wasn't enough to save you.
"It's no big deal" you said, "sometimes married people fight,"
But my worst fears became reality, when you went back home that night.
"He's my husband,” you said to me, "I have to try to make my marriage work,"
Nothing I said could convince you, I just didn't want to see you get hurt.
You smiled and said "thank you for loving me" then hugged me and went on your way,
And as I watched you go, I didn't know, that I'd lose my friend that day.
How could someone so loved, and so trusted by you,
Be the source and the enforcer, of the pain that you went through.
The suffering you endured, was surely no way to live,
And I know God's word says I should, so I'm trying to forgive.
But I will never forget, nor will I ever understand,
How someone who vowed to love you for life, could take your life with his own hands.
Sometimes I want to be angry with you, because you didn't have to go,
Why did you have to go back that night … I'm sorry, I just miss you so.
It all so surreal, and that hasn’t changed with time,
Sometimes when my phone rings, I still expect to hear you on the other line.
I wish you were still here with me, my sister, my cherished friend,
Maybe one day I will stop asking why, why your precious life had to end …
But not today.
Ritsu Katsumata is a classically trained violinist, composer and electric violinist who has been performing since she was ten. She has played venues from Carnegie Hall to rock-and-roll festivals to the Museum of Modern Art.
More Info: http://www.ritsu.com
||Rebecca Kinzie-Bastian received her MFA in Poetry from Vermont College. She has completed two manuscripts, The Place We Return To and Cherry.
The Little Deer
I am filled with arrows. The sea lies
lost behind me, azure, lightning struck,
endless but not ever thirst quenching.
The sea is behind me, no respite,
and the seven trees. Beside me, two
trees more. Only you ahead, huntsman,
no birds, no monkeys, not even one
child, yours or mine, only you, only
I and nine arrows, nine trees, nine wounds
bleeding toward your definitions.
Branches all around me are broken
off— the associations, mother,
father, male and beast, breast, hart, heart, hind,
hovering—tell me then, am I so
strange? Have you never really seen me?
I am right here, flung toward you, panting,
painted, pained, leaping. You stand there
drawn tight, unnerved, unsexed, while I am
doubled, tripled to no possible
supposition. Look at the shadows
on my shoulder, the curve of my rump,
the sharp, dark crease at my quivering
flank, so feminine. And yet furred balls,
sacks of all that’s potent,
mute, are slung
between my thighs. The ground behind me
blackens with my blood, infertile. No
understanding, no seed. Why don’t you
finish me off?
Watcher, you hover just as I
do somewhere in between the knowing
and the seeing, the self and self and
what is never to be said. Dunn, buff,
crimson, killer, look me in the eyes
and know I see you.
I am pain pulled
tight against you. I am your mirror.
Frida Kahlo, The Wounded Deer, oil on masonite, 1946
The Heart is a Flock of Starlings
The heart is a flock of starlings, a dark rush against the blue, blue sky. Plain faced and speckled each bird feels its beating, knows the singular sound of its own voice, feels the wind push hard against its wings.
The heart is a flock of starlings dark and light, hope before winter, harbinger of spring,
a door, a window, a gate, the entrance to the tunnel opening in, opening out; a flock of starling opens and closes like those doors, like a fist, like the very valves
of the thing it is.
The heart is a flock of starlings, palpitating mass of one and one and one, plain as the road
you’re driving on when you see them and stop, open mouthed at the sheer numbers.
That is your heart up there and you know it and gasp at the sad and plain
and shining flight of it.
The heart is a flock of starlings, tight but open, one but individual, plain but glossy backed
and beautiful. Listen to its chirping, disappointment’s resonance, love and color lifting as one
great sweep. Such a loud noise for such small wings.