Liz Whiteacre and Meadow Bridgham

deep breaths

(listen to “deep breaths”–words by Liz Whiteacre, music by Meadow Bridgham, vocally performed by Andrew Durham)

let’s circle ‘round to get to the point:
deep breaths pull in tangential blooms
of microscopic flowers into our lungs—
beauty breathed out. repeat.

it’s simple. tune out the talking. let’s cut
past the remembered trauma, sitting upstairs,
hands clasped ‘round an imagined bouquet.
injected into this dream, we’ll rise into nostalgic
air, blurry & warm like dandelion fuzz in the sun.

repeat the breath, blinking. let’s pretend we
won’t hear the vase shatter downstairs. tune out
the screaming. focus on the taste of zinnias, red & pink.
repeat. colors bubble like watercolors on wet paper.

let’s circle ‘round to get to the point:
focus on good feelings’ bloom warm in our guts.
let’s pretend they won’t seize, leave us shaking,
alone on a bed in a different room

all warmth gone. still, in a cold moment—

Artists’ Statement

In 2021, composer Meadow Bridgham asked Liz Whiteacre, a poet who lives with and writes about spinal injuries, to create poems/lyrics for a song cycle that shared a story about what life is like for them with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) with the goal to raise awareness about TLE through music. Whiteacre interviewed Bridgham about their experiences with TLE, as well as conducted research. The song cycle, titled “Seasons of Seizing: Six Poems on Temporal Lobe Epilepsy,” was performed in November 2022 by Meadow Bridgham (pianist) and Andrew Durham (singer) at Yale University during Bridgham’s doctoral defense.

Read Liz Whiteacre’s poetry published in this issue of Wordgathering.

Back to Top of Page | Back to Music | Back to Volume 17, Issue 1 – Summer 2023

About the Author

Liz Whiteacre is the author of Hit the Ground. Her poetry has appeared in Wordgathering, Disability Studies Quarterly, Kaleidoscope, Breath & Shadow, Last Leaves, The Score, Flying Island, and other publications. Whiteacre is an associate professor of English at the University of Indianapolis. She teaches creative writing and publishing, as well as advises Etchings Press.

About the Composer

Meadow Bridgham writes acoustic concert music that imbues traditional musical form and harmony with contemporary techniques, often employing pop-inspired, improvisational, and noise-based characteristics. They have worked with important composers such as William Bolcom, Martin Bresnick, Aaron Jay Kernis, Libby Larsen, Bright Sheng, and Joan Tower. Their music has been performed as part of the American Music Festival, the New York Festival of Song, the Westben Composer-Performer Residency, and the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, among others. Meadow recently earned their Doctorate of Musical Arts degree from the Yale School of Music.