La La On My Retina
by Billie Hanne
In the void that emerges after a word is uttered silence opens likes a flower. Human time turns to cosmic time.
Words are poetic estuaries in themselves.
Plugging a word into a feeling, an intention, a receptivity, an action, a thought connects us to the world around us. In this possibility of closer unity between ourselves and the greater reality we experience a private satisfaction that makes us feel alive.
The very act of naming something in our physical presence or something we see in the realm of our thoughts, memories or imagination gratifies our being because it has us participate with life through language.
A child collects these experiences like shards of glass it can hold against the sky. With sincere curiosity he or she yields to the imagery and sensations caused by the light refracted. A young kid learning to speak is unafraid to investigate a word from all angles. It will look at ‘ball’ from the inner eye and shriek with delight at its effect on body and emotions.
“Here are the red fish.”
“Here are the red fish.”
“The red fish ... here!”
In the space of a breath tongue, lips and throat coordinate to a string of consonants and vowels, a tiny stream of syllables which is pushed forward by the moment’s content. Words are curiously anonymous, merciful and powerful. To tap into their poetry is to tap into their two elements of power: meaning and music.
“I see you now. A star.”
One element of power liberating the other.
“The late light splintered
and left a sea of embers
by the bottles on the floor.”
We were born poets and poetry is the language we were born into. Banana, phone, fork, tree, moon, fish, night, t- shirt, ... Each word is wondrous and celebrates being in the world. Naming things binds the physical realm with the non-physical realm.
“Tie those laces. Winter is waiting.”
As dogs bark, frogs croak, crickets chirp, humans speak. Intent is key to creating poetry. It stems from a desire to bring our hope, our ecstasy, despair, joy, darkness, our truth, fear, delight and liveliness, our discouragement as well as our rapture to the words we say. There is a deep longing in us to unite, in everything we do, our inner space with the space around us. To seize every opportunity to do so. In the first place because it gives a sense of belonging. It is how we are built. It is in our DNA.
There are places we know or people we spend time with, objects we sit beside or dreams we dream that make us plunge deeper into our soul. They touch us. We find ourselves searching for imagery and metaphors giving more accurate expression to the most personal thoughts, feelings and aspirations related to our lives.
“Let’s imagine! And we imagined a geography of marshes
When we are touched we are moved. Silence emerges, blooms, but, as in Nature so in us, silence can only last for a second. Then we have to speak, do, move. And thus we make, create, take action to be with, to participate in, yet to not disturb the vision that we are presented with. We do what we can to hold onto and deepen our experience of the moment that grasps our attention. We open our heart as wide as we can to receive its mystic content. We bare what we are able to. One person only a bit stronger than the next.
One has a sip of tea. Looks out of the window. Picks up a speck of dust from the table. Calls a friend to arrange a meeting.
There is a sense of wonder followed by satisfaction before very quickly the moment fades and a new moment arises.
“The tick sugar of an apricot or plum.
A vision in perfect yellow. Who dares
to talk to the serpent,
or to that huntress showing us death
against a silken sky?
My throat is filled with erotic spice
and anguish; a pink morning sun
tucked into the voice
only vibrating in the emotive folds
of a greater mercy.”*
Words create a mythic reality for the body to step into. An instant partaking in past, present and future by engaging the different physical and energetic centers with the mystery that unfolds. The opening of the heart is the result of a chain of reactions taking place in throughout nervous system and this both requires and enables a fuller participation of the spiritual, emotional and bodily being we are.
Poetry is the body inseparable.
The body has mind.
The mind has body.
The soul refers to a consciousness beyond the individual experience of space and time. It is a divine consciousness if you will and in its essence it is quite simple. Access is as straight forward as putting the key in the keyhole and opening the door.
Body, mind and soul are merely three different concepts that have us better understand the complexity of who we are but ultimately our being is indivisible. When I say ‘North Sea’ it is all of me who speaks. Not only my mouth, or my tongue, or my brain but also my chest, my eyes, my back, my organs, my connection to my ancestry... When I pick up my toothbrush, then all I am is engaged in this motion. Not only my arm or my wrist and hand. Also my lungs and blood, my thighs, hips and womb, my belly, my throat, my senses, my vision for the future and my relationship to the present. Body and speech are integral to each other.
“It is love.” says Daisy, “It is the quiet water surface upon which all things float.” She blows the horn. She is aware of falling. OWL, owl, OWL: in a tree without a jacket.
Here lies Joseph for he was great. A luminous orb full of intent.
Mammoth. Wreath. Cliff. “How strange,” Daisy thinks, “first I wander, now I walk.”
As multi-sensory beings we are intuitive and instinctive, we practice our nature senses, emotional senses, our psychic capacities and have all these skills interact and fuse into each other. The digital age in which information spreads in the time of a click is an opportunity to practice these energetic skills at a high rate and they become part of our survival tool kit that has us evolve as a species. All this is wonderful and frees language from being only a means to communicate on a rational level. Instead, in addition to vision, touch, hearing, sight, taste, the different sensory modalities involved in every breath we take, action we perform or word we whisper confirm us that our presence extends away from us in all directions.
Salt between the teeth. Who is counting.
The heart of a mom.
Creature. Keeper of the gate. A horse that is waiting. A ship.
Poetry is a question of aligning with all that touches us. Emotionally, energetically, politically, socially, personally, collectively, and much much more. Words find the most poetic resonance when they tap into the current moment as well as touch upon something universal. They dematerialize mass and expand our experience of the physical world. Simply placing one word beside the next will create meaning, color, texture, music and elicit an array of images. The more free, intricate and personal this process is the higher the degree of poetry that can be achieved. Our physicality provides fuel to enable this to take place and thus gives body to what is being said.
“I have a golden tooth.
Please let me eat this pear.
A map in a wallet.
Supper at five.
Utopia. Are you hungry?
They were sisters.
Boy and South.
My name is Billie Hanne and I am a dancer and poet. Speech is an essential ingredient to the dances I create. In my work movement reveals what the words intend. We could think of it as the unconscious of words made visible by a multi-dimensional reality made up of body, speech, architecture, space, time, objects and light.
For the insights above I am greatly indebted to the many dancers and artists that I have worked with and from whom I have learned as well as to those who have attended my classes and have inspired my work in many ways through their commitment, artistry and generosity.
“Let me comb your hair.
I am liberty and I am awake.
A sanctuary is an individual space
divided into seven chapters.
They are the daughters of hereafter.
Dolores of heaven, I seek your name,
and you are called Light
beyond my expectations.”*
Adaptation from a poem titled ‘My own fruit’. Published in Wild Flight by Billie Hanne, KaTaPulT publishing, 2012, Brussels.
From a piece titled ‘Who with their Mouths Full of Flint’ with Billie Hanne & Hallveig Agustsdottir. Text as performed in Brussels in 2017.
Adaptation from a poem titled ‘Liberty’. Published in John by Billie Hanne, KaTaPulT publishing, 2014, Brussels.