“Origin Story” by Danabelle Gutierrez
Danabelle Gutierrez is an award-winning writer, born in the Philippines and raised in Manila, Cairo, Vienna, and Muscat. She has been awarded TFT Artist of The Year 2017, Illustrado 100 Most Influential Filipinos in the Gulf 2016 and 2017, and FWN 100 Most Influential Filipinas in The World 2018. Danabelle is the author of published books, “I Long To Be The River” and “& Until The Dreams Come”.
Transcript : “Origin Story”
This is how it started and here is where we begin.
This is not Adam and Eve and there is no serpent,
but let me tell you an origin story, birthed of our
ancestors, do you remember? Did they tell you?
Let me show you all the lines on the map, count
the cities we’ve sailed across to get here, now.
Do you remember where you came from? Once
upon a time, not a fairytale, but once upon a place,
once upon a people, creation created out of need,
made thunderstones, mythical, thought to be fallen
from the sky, we made them. If you close your eyes
long enough, your fingers will remember the rough
and close, remember that survival required something
more than just speed. Creation realized soon enough
that it wasn’t immortal, but it hoped, carefully adorned
itself in fig leaves or gold, even in death. Alive, we built
houses, built monuments, painted pictures, sculpted
perfection, took selfies. Clasped our hands or bowed
in reverence, prayed to the Almighty, asked for peace,
for happiness. Listened … didn’t do a very good job
at listening sometimes, hence forgiveness, lying face
down, arms outstretched in recompense. Yet still,
we wanted to Icarus to the sky, so we rode horses,
eventually flew, which brings us here, look around you,
look at all these different curiosities, and let me show you
how this ties us together – how the lines on the map,
the lines that drew us here, also drew a masterpiece –
called it human, tasked it to balance on a tightrope
from earth to heaven – from birth to death. Our ancestors
once believed we were formed on a potter’s wheel
spinning and spinning, around like the moon around the earth
and this rock around the sun. I read somewhere that we’re all
merely stardust, floating in space. This space. Here. We are here,
and we have been here, attempting to piece it all together
with the clues that the ones that walked before had left us –
not easy since we tried to babel our way up to the heavens
only to be brought back down. So here, in the rubble,
the rubble is all we’ve got to remember how we were birthed,
how we lived, how we loved, how we wrote, how we made.
And I bet you’re excited, I bet you’re wondering what
I’m talking about, I bet you’re curious, and wanting,
hoping to unravel the mystery yourself, to marvel, to imagine.
You see, this is how we started. Here is where we begin.
Poem Credits: Danabelle Gutierrez
This poem was presented as part of the “Spoken Art” programme that was curated by Dorian Rogers