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He who has most sympathy with his subject will obtain the best results. Henry Ossawa Tanner

Pádraig Ó Tuama & Leo G. Franchi

Pádraig Ó Tuama & Leo G. Franchi

How To Be Alone from Lacar on Vimeo.

 

How to be alone

by Pádraig Ó Tuama

It all begins with knowing
nothing lasts forever,
so you might as well start packing now.
In the meantime,
practice being alive.

There will be a party
where you’ll feel like
nobody’s paying you attention.
And there will be a party
where attention’s all you’ll get.
What you need to do
is to remember
to talk to yourself
between these parties.

And,
again,
there will be a day,
– a decade –
where you won’t
fit in with your body
even though you’re in
the only body you’re in.

You need to control
your habit of forgetting
to breathe.

Remember when you were younger
and you practiced kissing on your arm?
You were on to something then.
Sometimes harm knows its own healing
Comfort knows its own intelligence.
Kindness too.
It needs no reason.

There is a you
telling you another story of you.
Listen to her.

Where do you feel
anxiety in your body?
The chest? The fist? The dream before waking?
The head that feels like it’s at the top of the swing
or the clutch of gut like falling
& falling & falling and falling
It knows something: you’re dying.
Try to stay alive.

For now, touch yourself.
I’m serious.

Touch your
self.
Take your hand
and place your hand
some place
upon your body.
And listen
to the community of madness
that
you are.
You are
such an
interesting conversation.

You belong
here.

**

Pádraig Ó Tuama is an Irish poet and theologian. His work centres around themes of language, power, conflict and religion. Working fluently on the page and in public, Pádraig is a compelling poet and skilled speaker, teacher and group worker. His published work incorporates poetry, prose and theology. From 2014-2019 he was the leader of the Corrymeela Community, Ireland’s oldest peace and reconciliation community. A profoundly engaging public speaker, Ó Tuama has worked with groups to explore story, conflict, their relationship with religion and argument, and violence. Using poetry, group discussion and lectures, his work is marked both by lyricism and pragmatism, and includes a practice of evoking stories and participation from attendees at his always-popular lectures, retreats and events. For Ó Tuama, religion, conflict, power and poetry all circle around language, that original sacrament. In the context of public theology, he takes the received form of biblical texts and explores the civic and artistic dynamics of language, narrative and impact in these stories. He holds a BA Div validated by the Pontifical College of Maynooth, an MTh from Queen’s University Belfast and is currently engaged in a PhD in Theology through Creative Practice (Uni of Glasgow) exploring poetry, Irishness and religion. Pádraig Ó Tuama is the staff poet and theologian at The On Being Project and hosts the Poetry Unbound podcast. https://onbeing.org/author/padraig-o-tuama/ 

Illustration & Animation by Leo G. Franchi. Sound by Chris Heagle. Music by Gautum Srikishan.

Leo Franchi is a Designer and Animator, holding a Bachelor’s Degree in Visual Communication from the Fine Arts College of La Plata National University, Argentine. His style can best be described by words like: mixed media, collage, cut-out, paper shapes and abstract. http://www.lacar.tv/