In Their Own Words

Rosebud Ben-Oni on “Dancing with Kiko on the Moon”

Dancing with Kiko on the Moon

On the far side we're kicking up tundra out of tú

& no one & no one

                    on earth can see

                              though they swear by
                              (-we) though do not sing to
                              moonwomen, sickle-hipped & shape

                                         -shifting & very well maybe & most certainly do

                                                            their wishes bounce

                                                  & chase after & chew

                              our moondust

                    when we are carousing with stellar winds & moon-

Oh moon we're over the you about you

Dear moon do you need a tundra to look after

                    tú       dear familiar   dear shipwrecker

          salamander with wings of swallowtail

                              lucky charm fisher-

                    queen waterless & aloof

It's just us two & we are twisters
that don't leave the ground to [ ]

Welcome to our moonhaus
& we don't have to ghost

shout— we're all the worlds living between tú
                    which is why the moon

                                                  wears her sunglasses at night
                                                  where exploding stars fall
                                                  shock breakout bright

when kiko & I are kicking up
a tundra out of— tú
& summoning the sun & dew & oh

                                        we're over the you of you

                                                            & howling until the wolves coo
                                                            until the cow jumps over [ ]
                                                            & we enchantress

                              shine our super red from giants blue

                    & dear nasa rogue
                              that's us collapsing
                                        gravity so star power
                                                  we vogue

          & oh meteorites & asteroids we set fire to

                    & make more than a planet out of

                              dear [ ]

                                        & dear moon

                                                  do you need a

                              do you need a

                                                            she looks


                                                  the far side of

                                        we are

                              all the dark side moonwalking after you

From turn around, BRXGHT XYXS (Get Fresh Books, 2019). Reprinted with the permission of the author. All rights reserved.

On “Dancing with Kiko on the Moon”

I wrote this poem after seeing the sci-fi-meets-Greek-mythology music video “I Feel It Coming,” which Warren Fu directed for The Weekend’s collaboration with Daft Punk, and featured Japanese actress Kiko Mizuhara. She is truly incandescent in the video which, from the rolling opening credits, evokes 1980s sci-fi films like Tron and Blade Runner with their synthesizer-heavy soundtracks and back-lit rotoscoping effects. The video is a wonderful study in dualities: neon energies and desolate moons, lithe-footed lyrics and hypnotic deep bass vibes, the inescapable power of human longing and otherworldly premonitions that, if you ignore and give into their charms, would turn you to stone. And what of those AI-like French DJs who appear at the video's end to wipe away space snow and ash from a mysterious glowing purple screen? Is it disco? Is it demise? What awaits this inhospitable landscape as the screen cuts immediately to black? Does the dream, the discovery, end-- or is it just beginning?

I loved Warren Fu’s vision for this video. I really did. But I also had my own vision, a different kind of story, in which Kiko Mizuhara does not play a muse or secondary role to a male main character, but one as a co-conspirer, co-space-tripper, with another woman. In my poem, both women are unconcerned with the male gaze that feared the Medusa-like warning in the video. I wanted to express a freedom found in what it would mean for two women to dance on the moon, who make music for only each other, who discover how to express both love and lovesickness for all things outer space. On a related note, when I was writing this poem, I had a conversation with poet Darrel Alejandro Holnes about the Twitter account called @RogueNASA which had just recently emerged and what its very public presence meant; while the account’s bio now reads that it is “not an official NASA account” and “not managed by gov't employees,” I do like to think that there are scientists and thinkers out there— or rather, on the inside— who want us to know they are resisting and challenging the current administration and its policies. Writing this poem for me was an act of resistance, in how women (re)position their place in the narrative of space travel and the limitlessness of the imagination itself, and all the ways we speak and dream of the former through the latter.

Photo Credit: Brian Lee

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