1945 – Albert Einstein, a man of law, helps create the atomic bomb
100,000 Japanese houses implode, peace treaties explode.
Scientists predict that it will take generations
before anything will grow on the radiation infected soil of Hiroshima
But that Spring, there were new buds popping out from the Earth.
My mother was one of two women sitting an engineering degree
But they laughed her out of the libraries,
So she went home, and drew herself a compass on the floor of her room
Learnt to follow the vectors until they always point North
Built a library of lines and taught herself
to pick every lock in the house
Until it drove my grandfather mad
Until there was no door she could not unlock.
My mother calls me her little fighter
She says that when I was born, the nurses kept me in an incubator for 4 weeks.
Until one day, I opened my eyes and looked around the room with a stare that said
“When are you going to let me out?”
And yet for someone who was apparently ready for this world
I still don’t quite know what to do with myself
Every time I get on stage, my self-esteem can be measured out in teaspoons
Mixed into my poetry, and it still tastes funny in my mouth.
But I know that I see the impossible every day
Impossible is trying to make a connection in this world
to hold onto others while everything is blowing up around you
to know that when you’re speaking, people aren’t just listening – they hear you.
Today – when I meet you, here
I stop being a part of your future
And very quickly start becoming a part of your past.
But right now, in this moment
I get to be a part of your present
And you, you get to share in mine
And that is the greatest present of all.
So if you tell me that I can do the impossible
I will probably laugh at you.
Because I don’t know that much about the world, yet
And I don’t know that much about you either.
But I do know that sometimes if you make me laugh hard enough,
I forget which century I’m in.
This isn’t the first time I’m here
and these won’t be the last words I share.
But just in case, I’m trying my hardest to get it right
This time ’round.