Anthony Gorin and Natasha Huynh collaborated to create a poem on the theme of connection for our series of Covid Commissions. What you see before you now, is the result of two different lives and experiences intertwining. The pandemic has triggered a universal sense of solidarity- we all share the same hopes and fears.
Anthony is a poet and photographer with a focus on mental health. He says:
I write mostly darker poetry with an aim to show people going through difficult times that they aren’t alone, there are others out there, I know I found reading dark poetry helps me feel seen, known, understood; especially in a society that tells you to bottle up your feelings unless they’re good. I aim to challenge the stigma and write openly on my Instagram @beautyinnormalcy (photography) and @beautywithpoetry (poetry). I hope to be a published poet writing books, dispelling the stigma around mental health and hoping to allow anyone to pick up the phone or pen and write poetry about their feelings and experiences. No matter how dark, no matter how un-polished. Everyone deserves to have a voice and not to be silenced.
My creativity as a whole is geared towards the same goal, finding beauty in normalcy, beauty in the everyday, beauty even within the pain. Writing poetry, capturing landscapes or even the city-streets. It’s what I’ve dedicated all my creative practice towards. What I speak out and openly for. I have self-published a number of books, but mental health poetry is still ostracised, darker poetry even more, but I hope to show the use and value in mental health and darker poetry.
Natasha is a published poet, currently working as a project intern for Stanford University’s Life in Quarantine initiative. She says:
As I was writing this, I really had no idea where I was going with it. I was at a loss for words and I couldn’t find any inspiration or desire to write. But aer bottling things up for so long, my thoughts found a way out. This poem is about the future I imagined I’d have and how the events of COVID-19 changed my outlook. It’s about how, even in death, something or someone can inspire you to make a choice that alters the entire course of your existence. It’s a letter to everyone hurting.
Connection Across Place and Pandemic
Out of nowhere. It’s taken from me.
My mindful evenings
sitting and writing poetry in a pub,
watching as life is lived,
with a pint in hand,
being able to go out and see beauty,
the beauty in normalcy, those everyday sights,
and I write and write.
Interlocked jaws of her first marlboro
She’s got veins strung up
like christmas lights,
shooting through the
cracks in her marble
Poetry open mic nights, my form of human connection,
to others so different across class, sexuality, orientation, health and struggle.
Connection across every divide, united in poetry.
Before the virus, looking forward to so very many more.
They helped me to feel, to see and be,
to share my poetry so tentatively,
greeted by applause and people asking me about my words.
From what it’s taken. I find myself lost.
I lie next to her and watch
as the lights go off
Were we always going to end up here?
From stranger, to someone I deeply care for.
The love I felt,
looking and how I said, ‘I love you’,
felt so much and all of a sudden,
my love was dashed,
but this matters not,
for I’ll always care, always love.
Plead, tug at her braids
With violent desperation
for all the hands that could not
For as I said, “you’ll always have my heart”.
Even if you cannot take mine,
I’ll never stop loving you,
for you’re so kind, beautiful and full of life,
no matter your strifes,
I’ll always want to be there to hold your hand,
not a pandemic or any distance can stop me.
Hands are stones in the Ganges
that weigh down the shoulders of the city
I want to sink with them
They push me back up
All across the binary ones and zeros,
across place and pandemic,
my heart holds you in its very own shrine.
Just as I’ve wished your heart would love me,
as mine does your heart’s shine.
Stones are my cousin and uncle
in the ICU glass exhibitions
rattling their caged ribs
for one last performance
My heart may be alone, but for you, I’ll always be there.
-The audience watches from afar-
By Anthony Gorin and Natasha Huynh