Jason Henry Simon-Bierenbaum
Performance, Margarita Muñiz Academy
Jason Henry Simon-Bierenbaum's life changed in 6th grade when he first met punk rock and heard art that was singing what he was thinking. His life changed again in 10th grade when his mom brought him to his first performance poetry open mic and he came across the perfect genre for him to speak in. Outspoken, eager to explore, creative, and constantly looking for ways to bring art into the world, Jason took that night in and never looked back.
He believes art should not be safe. The risks and surprise paths we take in our art and lives can open us up to the most interesting possibilities. This is part of the reason he enjoys teaching, as it constantly forces him to see things from new perspectives and expand his understanding. Jason has written a manuscript of poems, Demons Around the Fire, and performeds his original one-person show, Prometheus in the Flesh, which explores the ancient myth through a series of modern archetypes, to shed light on the world around us. He has been a member of five poetry slam teams, a coach of six, and has taught all ages from preschool to senior citizens. This fall he will travel to colleges and poetry venues throughout the country as one half of "The Shabbatical Tour."
He is excited for what the future holds.
Mass LEAP - Leadership Team, Teaching Artist
Boston Youth Wrestling - Middle School Wrestling Coach
Harvard Speak Out Loud - Teaching Artist in Residence
Institute of Contemporary Art - Youth Poetry Slam Team Coach
To the Owner Of the Titanic,
From the Iceberg
Jason Henry Simon-Bierenbaum
Resting my head above water,
there I was, cold wench waiting to slice you down.
Been here since the ice age and I have seen
the ones you call Gods steal
their seats upon Olympus, and I promise
the other Titans
didn’t break so easy. I know
the sand castles where each ocean current buries it’s secrets,
the stories waves wash from memory,
the spots an iceberg hides daggers to say
“stop calling me water.” You know
business law for the same reason sharks know
how to smell blood from miles away. You knew
how to make space for more luxuries
by keeping just enough life boats to leave harbor, but
none to save the poor your machine kept
hidden in dimly lit lower levels, like bald spots
tucked under comb-overs. Did you notice
my ice-breath upon your neck
freezing the sweat on each coarse hair?
So removed on the top deck,
so certain you would ride this wave forever:
did you hear the screams
of women not destined for safe vessels,
the cries of children
who would never have another bedtime story?
Or did you just hear the band playing one last time.
“Play something upbeat” says the man
who will have a house to return to.
How you wormed
your way upon the last life boat
while your workers lay like larva
left on the diving corpse of a dieing swan.
Warm whiskey was the only thing strong enough
to pump your cold heart
as you watched me looming,
watched your sip snap in two.
Overgrown boy master of this dead body Atlantis,
did you ever really think
something stacked so neatly by castes
could ever fall as one?
Once a body has been submerged in ice water,
lungs can barely move
and people used to being
voiceless, died the way they lived, heads barely above water,
feel of cold curling around their necks.
Let their silent screams echo through your ears for eternity.
When you hear a band play something upbeat
let its melodies cut you like propeller blades
over, and over, and over. When the ice clinks
in your glass, listen! The chimes of children’s bones
floating through wreckage
still searching for home.
The November 3rd Club, February 2010.