Red that Rises

Written by Evelyn Bi

Sometimes I wish I had a voice like Mosiah’s

Ripping through blue plains touched by dew

I sit down, a weary spot in wilderness bewildered

And it hums to me in a way you just can’t imagine

Mama, I’m a bull weeping at the red

That rises, emerges from shapes as timeless and true

As bones in the womb of the desert

Which shift as I sift through everything I know

He sings of all the stuff I love best.

Buzz on, Song! ‘til I’m black and blue

To exalt with the only words I know how to say

Not grasping why I continue to search and chase and howl

For I, among the bounding herds, still crawl to get places

Or at least I feel this way; exchange one

End for a new beginning, one pearl for another,

Then let them float gently to the surface.

So from an endless roaring stream I burst

Up and out onto the golden shore, head full of water

Shoes, eyes, legs, lungs, forehead dripping

Yet still I sing, a dot in my neighborhood park

With my eyes on the red that rises. |

| Evelyn Bi is a junior majoring in graphic design. She writes poetry and primarily made fine art (printmaking, oil paint, graphite, film photo) until she began working with digital and print in the past three years. In her work, she explores the forms and concepts that have stuck with her since childhood, such as the idea of the sacred, the meaning of an archive in a digital-driven world, truth in comfort, and how to engage a viewer via hiding messages and transparency. She is passionate about creating open dialogue about mental health in the arts.

“I wrote these two poems freshman year: the first in response to a strange new feeling of growing into the home that is myself, and the second in response to how mental illness and self-doubt made me feel anxious around great work and made me question the value of art. As a Chinese artist, it’s difficult to contextualize myself in a field where everyone I learn about in art history is white, and the only great design philosophies I am taught are by white men. Having grown up in a culture that is not really celebrated in the same way as other immigrants, there is a feeling of isolation even among people of color — a jealousy of “louder” cultures more embraced by US history. There is shame in confusion, in emulation of styles and voices that are not my own, that makes me feel like I’m crawling and just getting by, even when on the outside I seem to be creating great work. The red that rises represents the setting sun, a nameless but knowable truth I’ve yet to reach, that feels like a red cloth associated with bullfighting. But I’ve learned to allow myself to take a step back, and let myself breathe and remember I have everything I need already. Writing helps with checking in with myself, finding out how I really feel about certain things, and solidifying things I might not be strong enough to say out loud.”