I first heard of Ish during my second full week of living in NYC. I remember this day vividly. I was still in flux with where I was going to stay for the next few months, I was going on maybe two-full hours of sleep and had recently just started a new job. By 5’oclock when I came back to what was my temporary home in Chelsea, the first thing I did was chug grab a glass of wine. It was one of those days. Scrolling through Facebook, I came across a spoken-word/poetry event being hosted by Greenlight Bookstore – which ranks as one of my favorite bookstores I’ve been to. The event was starting in an hour so I rushed to get dressed and pretty much ran to the train so I could get there on time.
The front of the store was converted to fit about 30 people seated in folding chairs, while others could stand behind. I was lucky enough to find a seat in the third row, surrounded by people of all ages and races. I can’t remember the order of poets/authors who spoke, but each one was incredibly remarkable. They picked out their favorite stories to share and illustrating their thoughts in our minds as they spoke aloud.
Ishmael’s stories resonated with me the most. Spinning off of an emotional week, let alone day, this is exactly what I needed to here at the time. Now seven months later, I came across a poem in his book titled “Tramontane” which illustrates the correlation of fear and the depths of our feelings.
“Wonders as to why the highest altitude gives us the most butterflies. Why the kiss one will cherish most lies in the zenith of a ferris wheel.” – Ishmael “Ish” Islam (Tramontane)
To do the scariest and what seem to be impossible projects end up being the ones you cherish the most. It’s by navigating the depths of self that open the window to infinite possibilities.