By Ian Cardamone
I celebrate myself, and sing myself.
O early morning mist,
Billowing over the mountaintops
Take me back to the small coastal town.
When life was nothing more than imagination
When creativity ran wild and dreams leapt off dunes yelling “geronimo!”
O young surf-boarder, skateboarder, trampoline jumper,
Revitalize in me a free spirit.
O racing cars,
Rushing near the bay to unknown destinations
Take me back to the small apartment near the highway
Where my heart beat faster than the zooming machines.
Grab my hand and let me know that everything will be alright.
O becoming sketcher, filmmaker, worrier,
Remind me how to live passionately.
O bright lights,
Blinding me from what is right in front of me
Take me forward to a vibrant future
Where I am free from all restrictions and belong.
Allow me three breaths
As deep as the dark blue ocean
As calming as the embrace of a loved one.
As fulfilling as the creation of art,
O actor, dancer, music maker,
Become a man and sing of me.
A junior in High School, Ian recounts pivotal moments throughout his life in the poem*. It reminds him to stay true to himself, even in the face of personal hardships and change. He encourages others to use art as a tool of self reflection as well because Ian has found it to be a useful way of “knowing oneself outside the distress of oppression”. His participation with Be Present began in 2006 when he was 3 and continues to this day.
*Inspired by Walt Whitman’s poem of the same name.