16 WAYS TO DISAPPEAR
1. find a place you would rather be
(step in front of partners)
2. catch hold of the wind
3. blend into everything around you
(clump around roach)
4. move only when others blink
(look over shoulder /step back)
5. let your questions answer themselves
(crumple paper in front of you)
6. step behind something larger than you are
(step behind paper ball)
7. get inside something bigger than you are
(roach leaves center of circle)
8. hide in plain site and then come out when everyone else has gone home
(go to ground)
9. agree, agree, agree again
(uncrumple smooth out paper)
10. stand still until grass starts to grow on you
(arm extends with paper)
11. be as still as furniture, never touch anything
12. go far enough away so that you are a forgotten memory
(walk off stage- towards chairs)
13. anticipate needs so you won’t be asked
(box to floor)
14. wear too many layers of clothing and carry lots of bags
(go into box)
15. live in a cardboard house downtown or under a bridge with a dog
(start movement on floor- stand walk to back wall)
(head in box- slide down wall- walk off)
Ronell Draper, inspired by Leslie Seiters
GINO & NATE
They never used my name
I went through the whole process alone- no family, no friends
They said… because no one was there with me, that no one cared.
When I came to prison as a lifer I began the process of disappearing
First good friends gave up staying in contact.
It seemed clear that I was forgotten. (whispered)
They never used my name, I was called defendant
And from there I became a number.
It seemed clear that I was forgotten (whispered)
Every time the mail gets passed out- I disappear (whispered)
Every weekend that goes by and I don’t get a visit- I disappear
Every time I hear about the death of a friend or a family member- I disappear
Each year I eat another Christmas meal in prison- I disappear
Each time someone I know in prison paroles- I disappear
When I see new lifers, many of them young- in their twenties- I disappear
20 years into my sentence and the world spins on without me
so in a way, my life has already disappeared.
Gino Sevacos & Nate Collins
I’ve always been about race.
It’s genetic, don’t you know that.
I was born, and I knew what my father
I had to work twice as hard
do twice as much
to come in second to a white boy.
My father was light-skinned.
I remember feeling ashamed because I wasn’t light-skinned.
My brothers weren’t light skinned.
I remember my father dating only very dark women.
As if to say, “Sons, there’s
nothing wrong with being dark.”
I was a glass half-empty
All I saw was a lot of beautiful women
who loved a light-skinned man.
My best friend in 4th grade was an Asian boy.
I got into a fight with another friend, he
I remember all the white kids who surrounded us
rooted for the other guy.
My name’s Emile.
I looked up and saw my best friend, Michael Lu.
He was rooting for the other guy too.
My mother survived the Nigerian Civil War.
She never told me about it because it was
My family was hunted and interned in death camps.
She told me how my grandmother snuck the
children to safety in the African
night on the river.
My grandfather was a doctor. When they caught
him, that was the only reason he survived; they
needed a doctor for their soldiers.
I never knew who I was.
Then my mother told me her story, and
now I know who I am. I know that even
before I was born, I was strong enough to
survive the Nigerian Civil War.
Emile Deweaver & Lemar Harrison
We lost her and fear rushed
Into the space she left, clapping
Through us like air collapsing
Around a vacuum. Fear of
Waking in a trashcan
Fear that life’s a ding-dong
Ditch, open door, queue
Crickets. We all want to turn
It back; can you blame us?
We’ve spent our lives wanting
To turn it back, snatch it
Back and take our kid
To school, applaud at his
Graduation, dance at her
Wedding. Take back a funeral
and go to college, go to the big
Game, go to Hollywood. If
We could take it back, one drop
In this space time continuum,
Perhaps life would shift and
Reveal what’s hiding, perhaps
We could call the past twenty
Years “practice.” Then the first
Days missed weren’t for naught
But for this moment when
Twenty-six people put their
Hands in God’s palm and
Took it back.