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This little light | a spoken word piece

Jean Grey Phoenix
‘Jean Grey Phoenix’ by Stanley Lau

Editor’s note:  I recently attended a spoken word performance by my friend and Pop Mythology contributor Jess Kroll. I loved his piece, “This Little Light,” so much, and thought that it resonated with the themes of this site so well, that I asked him to post it here. I’ve added pictures with his permission to make the thematic connection with the site more obvious. I hope that rather than cheapen the beauty of the piece with overly literal images, they further elucidate that heroic mythology is itself symbolic and that it simply represents the bringing forth of inner virtues.   —The Pop Mythologist


 

Picture me yellow
A spark among the timber
A floating ember
Igniting but never burning
In the night
I am the ambience
For your favorite faerie stories

 

Picture me blue
Wading through the pitch dark
Where even the sun is afraid to show its face
A single lit lure evolved for creatures
To live and die
With no light to depend on
But their own

 

Picture me red
In the face
This is my way of getting your attention
This is my method of both attraction and defense
Like poets using words
When bodies fail them
You would think I’d have learned by now
How to tell one pursuer from another

 

Picture me green
Picture me purple and pearlescent and gold
Among trees and sea and soil
This is how life learned to shine
How life takes its spotlight
This is how the creatures of this world
Adapt to make their existence
Brighter
More colorful
Where the creation takes control of its own fortune
Like, “Light is good and all but you know what, We got this.”
We make for ourselves
So when the world seems its darkest
We become the light at the end of the tunnel
Lantern Corps
(© DC Comics)

 

Picture me painter
Smearing handfuls of desperation
Upon floor canvases
Making mountains of molded colors
Into images never half as abstract
As the lines of stock dividends
Scratching and clawing at a flat surface
For the illusion of depth and motion and meaning
This is my last expression of primal action
To a world which no longer allows it

 

Picture me musician
Sitting solitary in a muted apartment
Roaming invisible landscapes
Rich rolling crescendos of temple bells and footfalls
Headphones and laptop
Red means too loud
Green means not loud enough
So I make music like Christmas lights
Outside I am, collar and tie
Middle management myrmidon
Inside, I am rock god
All bass, brass and brilliance
Bottled into silence

 

Picture me writer
Searching for the single word
Which best describes the meteoric fall of hubris
I prefer the company of the mind
To that of the world
And I’ll spend 5,000 words
Following the path of a raindrop
Down a pane of stained glass
But never have one word to spare on you
Because you refuse to read between the lines
dagger_and_dazzler_dance_by_serena_kenobi
‘Dagger and Dazzler Dance’ by Serena Kenobi
Picture a thousand tones of grayscale
Embedded across a map
Stretched from your first grade smile
To your last disability check
And yourself,
Standing there
Holding a bucket of canary yellow

 

We are trying
To bring some color into this world
As fleeting and futile as it may be
A dim bulb in the skyline
A single spark in the starless night
A lone, faint blue dot one thousand meters beneath the surf
Sometimes,
The only way to survive
Is to do everything you can
To shine

 

If life is nothing more than a mad rush to make a better version of yourself
And there is no light at the end of the tunnel
Then the best thing we can do
Is evolve

 

Iron Man
(© Marvel Comics)

 

Picture me firefly
Anglerfish
Glow worm
Picture me shining
Picture yourselves shining
Picture yourselves blue and red and green and purple
Picture yourselves luminescent
In rainbow hues
That make the mantis shrimp squint
There is more to survival than breathing
The piles of paint hanging on gallery walls
The rhythmic metallic snare kicks
The gaps between words

 

And if you ever see yourself
Dulling in the spotlight
Drowning in the dark
With no points in an opaque void
And gravity coming to pull you in
Become your own North Star
The center of the constellations
And look

 

It makes a pretty picture, doesn’t it?
 
 
This life
Will push you into plenty of dark tunnels
 
This light
Is up to you
Silver Surfer
‘Silver Surfer’ by Mariano Steiner
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About Jess Kroll

Jess Kroll
Jess Kroll has spent years traveling the world, writing books, performing poetry, teaching, playing D&D, and occasionally discussing movies for Pop Mythology. His novels include 'Land of Smiles' from Monsoon Books and young adult series 'The One' and 'Werewolf Council' from Epic Press. He can put his foot behind his head.