ysabetwordsmith: Two smiling women; Kelly is blonde and Dale is brunette (walking the beat)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This is the freebie for the October Creative Jam. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] dialecticdreamer, [personal profile] alexseanchai, and [personal profile] curiosity. It also fills the "Festivals and Celebrations" square in my 10-2-15 card for the [community profile] ladiesbingo fest and the "music" square in my 9-4-15 card for the [community profile] genprompt_bingo fest. This poem belongs to the series Walking the Beat.

"Before Breakfast"

Dale and Kelly had gone out
to get pastries, intending
to eat breakfast in the park
for the music festival --

only to encounter Chrysta,
waving her hands wildly
to get their attention.

There's a rap signer performing!
Chrysta said. Hurry so you
can catch him. I don't know
how long he'll stay there.

Dale and Kelly shared a look.
"How hungry are you?" Dale asked.

Not that hungry! Kelly said.
Let's go find this guy.

Chrysta led them to the place
where the man was busking,
his portable speakers blaring
music as loud as they could,
his hands singing along.

He was performing
"Impossible is My Thing,"
every gesture crisp and lyrical.

Before long, Kelly started
signing along, which made
the man's eyebrows go up.

Then he grinned encouragement.

Chrysta joined in too, her fingers
flying through the lines.

Dale just watched; she could
sign reasonably well, but she
wasn't much of a performer.

After the first song ended,
Kelly and Chrysta did one
that they had both learned at
the Beverly School for the Deaf.

The rapper replied with another,
and Kelly explained, This one
comes from Gallaudet University.

They traded songs back and forth
until Dale and Kelly got so hungry
that they finally had to stop.

Dale bought one of the rapper's DVDs
with videos of him performing
several different tunes.

Then Kelly invited him to join them,
so he left his spot to a drummer and
her ribbon-twirling partner, then
came along to the pastry place
where they all got a table together.

People said I couldn't be a singer
because I'm Deaf,
he said.
I told them that this is who I am
and they should get used to it.

You sure surprised them! Kelly said.

It was nice, Dale thought, that sometimes
they got a chance to do impossible things
before breakfast and demonstrate that
not everything was, in fact, as impossible
as people liked to pretend it was.

* * *


Enjoy a video of Signmark''s "Impossible is My Thing."  [personal profile] capri0mni also recommends the live performance of "Speakerbox"    (with a translator providing the verbal track).  Notice how this song rhymes with front-back motion, whereas "Against the Wall" favors up-down instead.  Somatic singers choose differently composed signs from among available synonyms to suit each song, just as someone composing text lyrics to sing will choose based on sounds.

"Alice laughed: "There's no use trying," she said; "one can't believe impossible things."
"I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."
Alice in Wonderland.

Sign singing involves using sign language in tune to music. Notes may be carried by stretching out the signs, pitch indicated with height, and so on. Rhyme may appear in repeated shapes, motions, or positions -- these correspond to how repeated sounds may come within or at the end of words.

The Beverly School for the Deaf and Gallaudet University are two famous schools in the Deaf community. While plenty of Deaf people attend ordinary colleges, some prefer the richer community and especially linguistic immersion at a Deaf school.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-10-18 02:42 am (UTC)
alexseanchai: Ladybug, of Miraculous fame, with a rainbow Pride background (Default)
From: [personal profile] alexseanchai

(no subject)

Date: 2015-10-18 03:15 am (UTC)
mdlbear: (happy-turtle)
From: [personal profile] mdlbear
I've seen sign singing -- it's amazing.

Re: Yes...

Date: 2015-10-18 03:53 am (UTC)
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
From: [personal profile] mdlbear
Mine too, as you probably know. I'm looking forward to seeing her at OVFF next weekend.

Re: Yes...

Date: 2015-10-19 05:35 am (UTC)
thnidu: plus sign (plus)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Oh, YES!

OH, yes!

Date: 2015-10-18 11:39 am (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
On my third read-through (this morning-Sun), I finally realized I'd forgotten to post a comment.

Thank you just doesn't begin to cover it. That sense of enfolding a new person into a group just... hit me hard, in a good way, but it also took time to deal with.

Thank you XGoogleplex for this one.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-10-18 01:45 pm (UTC)
capri0mni: A black field crossed by five parallel lighting bolts in blue, gold, green, red, and purple (Default)
From: [personal profile] capri0mni
I like this!

BTW, this is an amateur video of Signmark performing his song "Speakerbox" in a live performance much like the one you describe in the poem: https://youtu.be/BxlVAyEjNTs

As for the rhyme that Signmark uses, I've noticed he tends to focus on the phoneme of movement, rather than hand shape, which is also common. Note how, in "Speakerbox, most of the lines follow a forward-back movement, while in his song "Against the Wall" (https://youtu.be/f9h3jUZRzeM), the dominant movement is up-down (He uses a different sign for "World" in each of these songs, because the different signs match the two different "rhyme schemes")

Re: You're welcome!

Date: 2015-10-18 08:58 pm (UTC)
capri0mni: A black field crossed by five parallel lighting bolts in blue, gold, green, red, and purple (Default)
From: [personal profile] capri0mni
If you really want to dig into the nitty-gritty of composing sign poetry (and prose), and don't mind reading something with an academic tone, then I highly recommend Signing the Body Poetic: Essays on American Sign Language Literature (University of California Press, 2007). The dead tree version comes with a DVD... which, in my case has gone missing. And the video is not included on the Kindle version... But we now have YouTube, so you can always do a keyword search for vlog examples... The Amazon Link:

It's only got a three star average customer review, but I note that the two lowest reviews come from students who had to buy it for their ASL class, and complained that it was "Too Hard!" so consider the source (they probably enrolled in the class expecting ASL to be easier than a "real language" -- surprise!).

Can't thumb through the pages to quote something at the mo', because I have a cat on my lap, but one thing that struck me was the point that all poetry is defined by the line -- in print, it's a horizontal line of letters, and in Sign, it's a line of traced movement through space.

And, in "Speakerbox," my favorite lines are: "We're reporting live from the front lines/We carry the torch for the ones too scared to shine." In his music video of this song, when he facing square on to the camera (the audience), you can see it's a masterful use of classifiers to produce an almost cinematic effect of wide shot, close up, different wide shot.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-10-18 03:33 pm (UTC)
gingicat: woman in a green dress and cloak holding a rose, looking up at snow falling down on her (Default)
From: [personal profile] gingicat
I've missed these two!

(no subject)

Date: 2015-10-18 05:43 pm (UTC)
stardreamer: Meez headshot (Default)
From: [personal profile] stardreamer
Beyond what everyone else has said, that's a fabulous song! It could be used as a general motivational theme for any group struggling for equality and justice.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-10-18 08:59 pm (UTC)
capri0mni: A black field crossed by five parallel lighting bolts in blue, gold, green, red, and purple (Default)
From: [personal profile] capri0mni
Indeed so!

(no subject)

Date: 2015-10-19 05:38 am (UTC)
thnidu: Lucy bright and bold. Lucida Bright font, boldface: backslash, small-o, slash: YAY!! (yay)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Flagged to watch when I'm more awake!


ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)

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