my Body by Whitney LePon
The Dancing Through Parkinson’s (DTP) community grows continuously and in the most unexpected and wonderful ways. There is always a sharing and exchange when DTP Community gathers, and we consist of dancers, participants, artists and musicians who love to support, laugh, and groove together.
Invertigo has been incredibly fortunate to have within our DTP community, Brian Tagomori. A DTP dancer and musician who participated in our Tarzana classes before the lockdown, and now attends both our Electric Lodge and Online Zoom classes. It is through Brian Tagomori that Invertigo Dance Theatre heard about writer and songstress Whitney LePon.
Whitney’s voice has echoed in many of our dance classes and featured in the recent Brian Song: A Dance Documentary. She and Brian share a special friendship that keeps them connected through music and their personal histories. Earlier this year she shared her poetry with DTP community members via our weekly email newsletter. With her blessing, we wanted to share this beautiful piece with you.
When asked about their longtime friendship, Brian Tagomori says, “The collaboration between me and Whitney is not just artistic, but rather a collaboration of soulmates. As I cherish playing guitar while I still can, Whitney cherishes the visual medium of reading and writing. Once blind, her corneal transplants granted her that indefinite time. How wonderful then, that she writes to express the frailties and triumphs of life that we all encounter. We both have suffered loss of true love to tragedy. Those we thought we had much more time with spiraled uncertainty. We don’t take for granted our ability to express these universally shared uncertainties. Our friendship, our collaboration of life, is certain for as long as life grants us. Her writing is just such an example of this.”
Whitney says the following of Brian, “Not only have I witnessed Brian’s journey but I, too, struggle with a neurological disease that causes pain and confusion. I wrote this poem in a moment of frustration. Where I had suffered an episode. My body was not my body. The pain, however, was mine and mine alone. All of the emotions that came with that, also mine. I want to think I can outsmart my body…but sometimes the body just has a mind of its own. Parkinson’s has taught me a great deal. One foot in front of the other, is still striving for and achieving success.”
Thank you, Whitney, for letting us share your beautiful and impactful words with our larger community.
by Whitney LePon
my body has a mind of its own
in fact many parts of my body think for themselves
here i have thought I reign true and sovereign claim on this land but
my body, reacts. it heals it damages it contracts it possesses and stakes claim it tenses and it fights.
my mind is a valiant competitor but it has its work cut out
and I am amazed
I am tired
I am at a loss
I say the words to my muscles
and my muscles say
they are prepped and ready for battle
and my mind is not queen
I have no say.
my body wants to protect me
but everyday I am hurting
giving this army the equipment it needs for war
yet, we are depleted
this is a coup
I didn’t mean to give these signals
how does one retreat from a war it started?
a word so foreign
To you reading this, Invertigo Dance Theatre and Dancing Through Parkinson’s program wishes you a wonderful new year full of inspiration, hope, and light.