Shapeshifter

Denise Pereira
Sep 23, 2019 · 3 min read
Flying over Funchal (By Denise Pereira)

While sitting at the back of the school bus, I became certain of something.
I had recently heard about life being too short and the sorts,
and it kept me awake at night.
But that morning I realised that I knew how to prolong life.
“Why haven’t the adults come up with this idea before?”
— I thought —
“Why are all of them so afraid?
I went back home and said, with my usual passion and conviction:
“I know how to stretch life!”
And the grown ups laughed.
They laughed at home, at school, in the cafe.
But I was not discouraged.
They were afraid of my constant certainties, I supposed.

Life is short, I know, but I will live it to the fullest!
I will have as many professions as I can,
so that my life gets multiplied,
refracted into endless perspectives,
kaleidoscope of ideas and universes”.

Life will end, that’s true,
but when you write you elongate your arms and your eyes.
You see beyond what’s there.
You are able to reach that last shelf where the tastiest cookies are.
Because, the Universe must be like your mother,
hiding the most precious cookies on the most unreachable shelf.
You can laugh and call me naive.
However, the little girl I used to be was sure
she was tricking death by being endlessly creative,
by being brave enough to always aspire to pursue different paths.
“What do you want to be when you grow up?

“An opera singer, a scientist, a writer, an astronaut, a teacher, an actress, a mythologist, a biologist, an explorer, a photographer, a poet, a business lady, a piano player, a dancer, a gardener, a spy, a diva, a vet, a pet, a performer, an academic, a know it all, an I don’t know anything at all…”

There, sitting in the school bus,
the little girl I used to be, became sure on how to trick death.
One must never surrender to a career, to a definition, to a single story.
We are plural creatures!
I used to know that when I was a kid.
I would start my day hosting imaginary news,
becoming an Olympic gymnast after lunch,
performing a play by dinner,
landing on the moon just before falling asleep,
and performing an aria while dreaming.

So what happened then?
Life happened! And it’s usual domestication process.
Do it as we did before so you can rise!
The obsession with specialisation,
so that you can serve, and rank,
and be served in the end of the line.
The following of everyone’s footsteps and weird notions
about what success means.

But what is success?
Success is progress, evolution, transformation.
To succeed is to supersede oneself.
To always change and learn and grow.
Shaking old skin behind like a wise and witty serpent.
Every skin is a new chance at life.
You get to be reborn hundred times during a lifetime!

Who wouldn’t want that?
So now when people ask me about my occupation
I always reply decisively:
“I am a shapeshifter!”

Resistance Poetry

Verse as Commentary

Denise Pereira

Written by

Poetry performer, who believes that words have the magical power to transform, heal and connect.

Resistance Poetry

Verse as Commentary

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