You are the Frenzy

Nada Faris
3 min readApr 24, 2023
This is an edited version of the spoken word poem first performed at the Closing of the Divan’s Debates, April 2016

Do you recall the book I was reading when we met?
It was on my mind when I clicked reply to your email.
Now I know why that book in particular:
Steven Cotler’s The Rise of the Superman.
It introduces the reader to Danny Way,
Mr. “Nothing is Too Gnarly.”
The man who attempted to jump
The Great Wall of China — on a skateboard.
But his practice run went horribly awry
and he fractured his ankle. His steering foot
got swollen beyond recognition,
and though he was rushed to the hospital
— he snuck out; because he did not
want to know the diagnosis.
Instead, he went up the ramp.

Did I mention his fear of heights?
One hundred and twenty-five million
Chinese onlookers waited with abated breath
as Danny paced on the ramp, like a caged animal,
to still his nerves.

Five seconds later — despite all odds —
he broke two world records,
even though his predecessor had died
undertaking the same attempt.

To prove it wasn’t a fluke,
Danny did it four more times.
Yes, with the broken ankle,
and the swollen steering foot,
throwing in a few flawless
three-sixties to wow the crowd.

But the refugee crisis is more serious
than skateboarding accounts,
so I could not reply to your email
until now.

Dear friend,
I came across a woman who went to school
with Cornelius Nyungura,
a German born to Rwandan parents,
who went on to become famous,
his songs topping international charts.
Corneille discovered his passion for music in 1993
— he was just a teenager — a year later,
he witnessed the genocide:
the largest in modern history
which claimed eight-hundred-thousand lives
including that of his mom, his dad,
his brothers, and his sister.

In the early hours of the morning,
soldiers filed into his house.
They lined up every member of his family,
and shot them point-blank.
Corneille survived by the grace of God,
and walked to Germany
where friends of his family lent a helping hand.

Three years later,
he moved to Canada
to enroll at a university
and — of all things —
to start a band.

A part of me would like to ask him:
How was he able to make music,
when the most salient sound
was that of his baby sister
gasping her final breath?

How was he able to find value
in a university degree
when he had to sleep on the street
next to dead countrymen, women, and children
on his way to Germany?

And how was he able to stomach
collaborating with Craig David
despite knowing of pop culture’s role
in Neoliberalism?

But the other part of me knows not to ask
because Truth is a power pill
and so is this poem
in which I channel Nietzsche
to summon the Super You.

You see
the façade of living is
shunning this principle

You were not made to be
pretty or pleasant
you were born a bolt of lighting
cutting swathes of darkness

You are miraculous

A human spark of light

So when dusk spills lush around you just
switch on your shine

You are the lighting’s licking tongue

You are the frenzy
that Nietzsche
wrote about

Your friend
and pen pal


This is the original version of the spoken word poem first performed at the Closing of the Divan’s Debates, April 2016



Nada Faris

Kuwaiti writer interested in language, literature, identity, community, and creativity. Sharing notes from my 10-year journey.