Running (Version 1 – PEM)

The earth walks much faster than me
And I’ve never really known what for.
But for as long as I can remember,
She was always rushing to go somewhere
Or rushing to stop.

How do you catch up to a planet?
Or how does a planet catch up to you?
When you’re standing on
Opposite sides of the track,
It’s never been easy to tell
Who’s winning the race.
Who separated first.
Who ran ahead,
Or fell behind,
Or maybe stopped walking entirely.

But it must've been me.

When the whistle blew,
I remember not caring to tie my shoes
Because if I ran fast enough,
I would fly.
And you can't step on your laces
When there's no ground beneath you.

And as I floated,
The dust turned to clouds.
And I flew through those too.

In my mind,
I became a bird,
With wings and a beak,
With a claim to all the sky I could see.
There was no ground beneath me.

And if you asked,
I wouldn't care to see it truly go.

In cartoons,
Characters run off cliffs
With no hesitation.
As if the air was water
They could glide through.
As if flying should be easy,
Like walking and swimming

But

Without wings,
I cannot fly.
Without ground,
I don't know life
On this track
(Of) forward and back.
So I stop.

Her pace slows to that
Of a cloud.
Unmoving.
Unphased, but unsure.

She tells me to tie my shoes,
And I do.

You know,
I've never had friends
That would wait for me,
So as I bunny looped
And doubled the knot,
I thought I'd have to sprint
To catch up.

Like a kid last picked
In gym class,
Or dodgeball,
Or soccer.
Climate action is a team sport.
There is no hauling (of) planets
Like a bag slung over your back.
Avoid stepping on the cracks
On the journey to recess.

We're in a game never played before.
Rules only written because we wrote them
Here.
And now.
With each other.
With no winners,
But no losers either.
Just us.

Players that can't quit
Running.
Us.
Breath heavy,
Lungs heavy,
Air heavy,
Us.
Running.

Race tracks have no beginning
Or end,
Just forward
And back.
Us.
Running.

Written on April 12, 2022, commissioned by Rare.

Performed at the Opening Ceremony of the Peabody Essex Museum’s new exhibit, Climate Action: Inspiring Change, on April 23, 2022.

Read more about Jordan’s involvement here.

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