One community that I am so happy to be a part of that I haven’t given enough blog time to is Red Room. Started by Ping Chu + Ayesha Mehta, + hosted monthly by my buddy, Manav Mehta, Red Room was created as a safe space for sharing + listening.
Red Room hosts an Open Mic event called Stage Time and Wine on the third Saturday of every month. Red Room also sponsors a Radio Play series called Red Room Radio Redux, + our very own A Nook for Rhyme Crooks.
At Stage Time and Wine you can expect to find a mix of foreigners + Taiwanese, sharing stories in English, Chinese, Taiwanese, French…any language is welcome! There are snacks + beverages. You are just asked to leave your shoes at the doors, pay $200NTD (about $6.50 US) entry + bring a bottle of wine to share. The event starts around 7pm +, depending on how many people have signed up to present, ends around 11pm. You can expect to hear spoken word poetry, original songs, readings from books, presentations about happenings in Taiwan, see dance, participate in group movement activities—pretty much anything that can be communicated is welcome on the Red Room stage.
The coolest part of Red Room is how supportive + welcoming the community is. It is a totally safe space to present thoughts. The people who come to Red Room are there because they want to listen. I have been very few places that are so inherently positive + warm.
At Stage Time and Wines over the past few months I have shared new pieces that I have written. Since the last Red Room was the weekend before the second Nook, I shared my “Music” piece from the first Nook. Here it is:
Just friends doing friend things
Movies, dinner, museums, beer.
Summer in the city
Always scheming to have you near.
Neither wanting to make the first, the wrong move
Reading each other, stalking like lions on the planes,
I’m the queen of my jungle, baby, you wanna share the reins,
Be my king? Keeping our distance, patiently watching.
Your next step my permission to take one more, sidewinding, circling.
The plane’s tall grass provides protection—a scrim, a screen like our Nook spot’s got, listening to each other but not sure if we can trust what we see because, baby, you’re too good to be true.
How could this remarkable, smart, funny, sexy, ambitious person possibly be ready or willing to give himself to me, too?
So we wait.
Play the game a lil more.
Find more ways, places, things to do to fill our time with each other—
Sitting on kitchen counter tops of fake marble,
Cooking together, talking about the ways of the world, the fucked up shit, injustice, our passions—
we’re movers’n’shakers, kid, and if you stick with me, we can DO shit.
Maybe we both sensed this before we could put it into words.
Like, Damn, this could be different. You could be wonderful, you ARE wonderful. With you I could take this step, this trip, jump off the fucking precipice and never look back.
And since we both see that
It gets convoluted—we pollute it with pepperings of self-preservation
If I make this leap into my dream this time with this person, I might actually feel. This person could break my heart.
And so we meet again.
Neither of us sure if tonight will be the night that we’ll say something,
Like, I wanna let you know that I got a crush on you…
Both knowing it would be appropriate—we’ve already spent the entire day and night together and decide to get another beer—the fear of losing the other to the night too strong to play timid.
“So what is this?” You ask.
Sharing the corner booth, dark wood shining in the bar’s soft light… Christmas lights? candles? or just the dimmed setting of the overheads?
I can’t remember because you shined the brightest. Adrenaline of finally asking, finally being asked coursing through us, simultaneously activating and cancelling out the alcohol already in our veins.
Sighing sweet release, I say, “I’m glad you said something cuz I thought I was gonna have to.”
The gleam in your eye like a diamond but brighter, something I see in you every time you look at me.
And the pure adoration pouring my way proves that in this moment…If only for this moment, L’Engle’s wrinkle in time, I am the only one you see.
I grip your shoulders, guide them to the dark shining wood behind you, climb on top and kiss you, like, a kiss that would have the city spinning around us—exploring this new aspect with you with thorough care type shit.
But first you kiss me and I shy away, not one for PDA, “Who cares?” You say, “I just don’t want to be that girl making out at a bar on a Sunday night, OK?”
The spot’s closing down, it’s a nice night, I’m walking home. So you’ll walk with me until you catch a train.
Hands entwined, all but skipping, we set off, passing one, then two, then three train stations, until the only destination could be the crib,
you making some remark about the loudness of my boots attracting unwanted attention.
And at my gate, both of us do cartwheels inside, giddy with that out of body thing that comes with finally snagging the one that makes you shine.
I am sad that I missed this month’s Red Room, but I have a good excuse: I am currently traveling in Vietnam with my best friend, Christian! I do look forward to July’s event. 🙂
At the first Red Room event I attended in January, someone killed a cover of “Titanium,” a song that’s been following me all month, so here you go!