Archive for December, 2011

From Russia, With Love

Monday, December 26th, 2011

russia_saratov

In mid-November, I received an email from Ekaterina (Kate), a high school English teacher in Saratov, Russia. She and her students had found the cinépoems, and “Alice is my middle name” was their favorite.

The class had a school competition coming up, and they wanted to memorize and recite the poem, so Kate asked if they could have my permission to do so, and if I could send them the text of the poem, since transcribing it from the video was difficult.

I was astonished to discover that the cinépoems had traveled all the way to southern Russia. It’s just one more way the internet has made the world a much smaller place. Amazing.

Of course, I gave her my permission and sent the text of the poem straightaway. I also helped them find the music we used for the cinépoem.

And yesterday, I received the most lovely Christmas present ever.

This is a video of Julia, reciting my poem “Alice is my middle name” in her English class the day before the competition. She borrowed the blue Alice dress from a local theater.

julia_alice Alice in Saratov

Kate told me that Julia was nervous when they shot this video and “didn’t feel like an actress.”

I think she’s lovely. And she must have done well at the competition the next day, because her performance won 3rd place!

Congrats to Julia and all of her classmates, and a huge thank you to Kate for seeking me out. I’m so glad Alice made it all the way to Saratov.

Here’s the poem that started it all, for all you Alices out there:

Alice is my middle name

The light turns green and I’m off again
out looking for my wonder land
searching every rabbit hole
turning over every mushroom bowl

the clock gets louder
with each passing year
it stares me down
it finds the fear

so I shuffle up a hand of hearts
I pour myself a stiff blue dress
and the light turns red
(it’s all in my head)

but the plates keep spinning
and the cats keeps grinning
and that most important date
just keeps showing up late

it’s never the right time
it’s never, ever the right time

when the charge runs down
(as it often does)
I jump start my heart
to the marching band,
to the ticking tock

sometimes I could swear
I hear the sound of clouds
slamming on the brakes
slowing down to watch

and every time the sky turns blue
I stop somewhere
I wait for you

and every spring the grass turns green
I take that leap
of faith again

(You go further
when you get a running start)

Watch the original cinépoem

-Lo, who finally did find the right time after all.