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I Am Here

Is this the room inside my heart?

A stage where phantoms play?

A mystery so lonely, yet

I pass it everyday?


The images are fearsome, yet

the appetite succumbs

to eerie, echoed overtures

on more peculiar drums.

A concert hall’s graffitied walls

are splendid in their blight.

This place is where my hope begins

with darkness. And with light.


Where pretty things and gritty things

are ushered through the door

and trespass through the broken glass

and land upon the floor.


The floor, so old and traumatized,

is wilderness to me.

I step to dodge the open wounds

and climb across debris.


While all things here are possible

and nothing’s ever clear,

I move in service of my joy.

I live. And I am here.


I feel the ground, the light, the air,

through splintered works of art.

This court of endless energy -

the room inside my heart.


If these are ashes, dead and bright,

like dusty plains of Mars,

the thought of future phoenixes

propels me to the stars.

My noble stage where phantoms play,

approach it without fear.

Perceive, in you, its hushed refrain:

I live. And I am here.


By Lindsay Surmacz. Photos by J. Aaron Hager (@caspermilque). Special thanks to Chris Ivory and Darrell Holloway for their role in helping us access this "noble stage."

Artistic image of a woman in a sheer, white dance dress juggling and playing with drumsticks in a dilapidated, graffiti-ridden auditorium.

Artistic image of a woman in a sheer, white dance dress juggling and playing with drumsticks in a dilapidated, graffiti-ridden auditorium.

Artistic image of a woman in a sheer, white dance dress juggling and playing with drumsticks in a dilapidated, graffiti-ridden auditorium.

Artistic image of a woman in a sheer, white dance dress juggling and playing with drumsticks in a dilapidated, graffiti-ridden auditorium.

Artistic image of a woman in a sheer, white dance dress juggling and playing with drumsticks in a dilapidated, graffiti-ridden auditorium.
Artistic image of a woman in a sheer, white dance dress holding drumsticks while looking down into a dilapidated, graffiti-ridden auditorium.

Artistic image of a woman in a sheer, white dance dress juggling and playing with drumsticks in a dilapidated, graffiti-ridden auditorium.

Artistic image of a woman in a sheer, white dance dress juggling and playing with drumsticks in a dilapidated, graffiti-ridden auditorium.

Artistic image of a woman in a sheer, white dance dress juggling drumsticks in front of a tall, sunlit window in a dilapidated, graffiti-ridden hall.

Artistic image of a woman in a sheer, white dance dress striking an acrobatic pose on a dilapidated piano in a graffiti-ridden hall.

Artistic image of a woman in a sheer, white dance dress striking an acrobatic pose in a dark, graffiti-ridden hall.


Artistic image of a woman in a sheer, black dance dress standing behind a snare drum with drum sticks in a dilapidated, graffiti-ridden auditorium.

Artistic image of a woman in a sheer, black dance dress juggling and playing with drumsticks on a snare drum in a dilapidated, graffiti-ridden auditorium.

Artistic image of a woman in a sheer, black dance dress juggling and playing with drumsticks on a snare drum in a dilapidated, graffiti-ridden auditorium.

Artistic image of a woman in a sheer, black dance dress standing beside a snare drum with drumsticks in a dilapidated, graffiti-ridden auditorium.

Artistic image of a woman in a sheer, black dance dress playing the graffiti-ridden wall of a dilapidated auditorium with drumsticks.

Artistic image of a woman in a sheer, black dance dress sitting at a vandalized makeup table while holding drumsticks in a dilapidated dressing room.

Artistic image of a woman wearing a sheer, black dance dress seeing her reflection in the shattered mirror of a vandalized makeup table.

Artistic image of a woman wearing a sheer, black dance dress holding a drumstick whose face is framed by the edges of a shattered mirror on a vandalized makeup table.

Artistic image of a woman in a sheer, black dance dress on a dilapidated, graffiti-ridden stage juggling and playing with drumsticks on a drum.

Artistic image of a woman in a sheer, black dance dress on a dilapidated, graffiti-ridden stage juggling and playing with drumsticks on a drum.

Artistic image of a woman in a sheer, black dance dress on a dilapidated, graffiti-ridden stage playing a drum.

Artistic image of a woman in a sheer, black dance dress on a dilapidated, graffiti-ridden stage bowing next to a drum.