Watch in high-definition. Captions not provided but look below for translation. The performance took place on March 3, 2018, at the Deaf Meets Def Poetry Jam in Loving Cup.
Image description: Eric Epstein is standing on a stage, wearing purple long-sleeves and purple sweatpants. The background is curtained with projected text “Loving Cup.” There are also two pink spotlights behind Eric, who is white. He is signing “SHH.”
Filming credit: Hayden Orr
Translation by Cindy Gilchrist:
A multitude of musical strings
A thin pole supports the lacquered wood
top-board at a jaunty angle.
Elegantly curved side panels brace
the long row of black and white keys.
The piano sits; complacent.
Two figures approach.
The music Teacher and the young Deaf student.
The youth sits down at the keyboard
awkwardly trying the pedals and tapping at the keys.
Opens the music notebook
Lines and lines and symbols. Treble clef. Bass clef, the Teacher directs him to draw a note and more notes.
Her order issued she retreats,
but the young man remains,
confused and troubled.
He withdraws into reverie,
and breathes relief … when a sweet girl appears to him.
They meet…doe-eyed in love.
Her flowing hair and flickering lashes captivate the boy.
Embracing, he mysteriously grows small, small, smaller,
and are swept on an adventure in the music sheet.
Together they topple it, to jump and play along the measured lines.
Happiness surrounds them until the Teacher’s scowl appears from the pages of the huge towering notebook.
Disapproving, scolding, wielding her marker,
she adds half-notes and rests, sharps, flats, and codas
until the brutal hieroglyphics swarm and strike!
The two young lovers wrest apart by the onslaught.
The Teacher writes as fast as they can run, filling page after page –
the sprinting couple barely finds their footing on the riffling pages.
Finally, they jump together to the top of an unused book
And balancing atop, tear a sheet
from its fastenings.
The Teacher’s attention draws to the roguish page,
but the two scurry underneath
and hold it like a cloak over desperate escapees.
Running to save their lives, they slip
through a mouse hole, into velvety dark safety.
They leave the Teacher sputtering in vain.
In the deep, soft silence, boy and girl wrap themselves
in the shelter of empty music pages.
Notations of silence enfold the music of their hearts,
and they are transfigured, renewed … pure and playful Energy.
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