Piece Talks: “Home,” by Silvia Roma

 

“Home,” a poem written by Silvia Roma, halts my breath every time I read it. There is a scene in Tamora Pierce’s Circle of Magic series where budding weather witch Trisana Chandler attempts to control the tide, absorbing the energy into herself and the boulder she sits on until it almost destroys her and disintegrates the boulder in the process. “Home” surges forth with the power of a tide withheld, spitting words like bullets.

The cadence of the piece makes it perfect for spoken word; you can hear the silences and the echoes of the words, the fire blazing just beneath the ink. As the poem declares, it is “not a song… not even a call to action,” but a story. Story is a tool we use to shape the world; “Home” declares that some stories are not up for dispute. The stories of our bodies and the acceptance of our bodies are not and cannot be contingent on the narratives of anyone outside that body.

Roma’s poem is a Declaration of Independence from stories dictated by a culture that wants to declare a dictatorship over our self-perception and appearance. It is the story of a revolution carried out in the curves of a body and the scars of a mind subjected to judgment and otherness and unworthiness. It is a joyous testimony of self-love that was fought for and earned, a radical act that should be anything but.

“Home” is not a call to action, but it tells of action in motion, the speaker’s daily remembrance of who they are and the home they deserve to feel inside their own body. To have that idea, the story of a person defining the shape of their own story, in the world and reverberating… That is beautiful.

 

A word of caution to this tale: these are my own humble thoughts I detail, as authorial intent I cannot unveil

Piece Talks: Marigrace Angelo’s “a confession”

A word of caution to this tale: this is my own reading on the piece, so I cannot speak definitively for the author or their intentions.

 

In our first meeting as the Wizards in Space team, there was nervousness and excitement, introductions passed around and goals discussed. We were going to build, word by word and piece by piece, a space to celebrate the original work and personal stories of those who devote so much of their time to celebrating the creativity of others. Week by week, we would work our way through 200 submissions, balance budgets and page counts and schedules, and end with a book that aims for the stars and contains pure magic.

Checking my email one night and finding the first round of submissions brought a poorly muffled squeak of excitement and the dawning realization that this was a real really happening for real thing that I was for real involved with. Really. Honestly, that feeling never faded all the way, and returned full force the first time I held a copy of Issue 1 in my hands. But our first meetings, figuring out a pattern and method to discuss and weigh the merits of our favorite pieces, were a level of surreal all their own.

The first piece in Wizards in Space, Marigrace Angelo’s “a confession,” was from that first batch of submissions, and was, in fact, one of the first pieces I even read. The speaker’s confession is simple and succinct, a reflection on their fall away from the church. The traditions and formulae of the church are distilled into three-line stanzas, muscle memory for prayer and song reflected in poetic rhythm, ending in that sacred image of the “you-pick-two” lunch combo, as important to the church experience as communion itself.

Capitalization is ignored throughout the piece with one exception: “I.” The personal identifier. Rules regarding proper nouns and new sentences are tossed aside, and perhaps this is a case of particularly insistent autocorrect disrupting an homage to e.e. cummings, but it seems more likely this poem is a celebration of the self. Sunday, the holy day, left with a lowercase “s,” as are “kingsolver” and “libba bray,” housed in their “books-a-million” temple. Outside philosophies, ones selected by the speaker and ones they are born into, notably left lower than that singular “I.” The confession, then, is not just one of departure or reminiscence, but of self-construction, of the path from there to here and the pieces cobbled together along the way.

Wizards in Space only exists with the support of our contributors, readers, and backers. “A confession” was a beginning, the first step in designing a book that all of us, not just the editorial team, but every single individual who offered encouragement and support, could be proud of. When you open Issue 01 to Marigrace Angelo’s poem, we invite you to take that first step with us, and every step that follows as we seek to knit together the incredible works you submitted into a single meaningful experience. Thank you.