“Women I Know” and “I Am So Visible” by Nina Serrano
“I AM SO VISIBLE” at International Women’s Month 2014
Performing my poems from Heart Strong celebrating International Women’s Month with Sascha Jacobsen’s Musical Art Quintet made for a euphoric experience. I accompanied Sascha’s Quintet, with guest pianist Cesar Cancion, at Salle Piano in San Francisco on International Women’s Day, March 8, 2014. The sensuality and rich beauty of the Quintet’s music created a magic carpet that carried me away to other realms whose only entrance is through music. The musicians’ skill and passion supported and transported me, giving me the freedom to perform it fully.
The event made me remember how “I Am So Visible” was originally written as “I AM INVISIBLE”. That was the on-going lament I periodically made to my late friend, Daniel del Solar, when I was in my fifties. He would wisely reply, “But I can see you.”
Decades later, I reworked the poem for a poetry event at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts in San Francisco. I turned the poem’s concept on its head, going from “invisible” to “so visible.” Daniel was at the reading–what a loyal friend–to hear that I finally heard his message. The lament version is lost forever in cyberspace. I am so glad I made that transformation from feeling invisible to so visible.
Middle aged-women often tell me that the poem gives them strength and hope. It is a strength that came to me through my friendships and adventures in the struggle for self-acceptance at each stage of life.
On International Women’s Day, when I was reciting “I Am So Visible,” with the Musical Art Quintet, there was a moment during the reading that the music paused. Surprised, my voice sailed on, empowered to fill in the space where six instruments had sung. When the music returned I was enfolded once again in their celestial sound.
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