Ian Spencer Bell in Banderole at The Mount, August 31, 2020. Photo by Nicholas Kahn.

March 11, 2021 : a poem by Ian Spencer Bell

Ian Spencer Bell's poem "March 11, 2021" will open the dancer and poet's upcoming Pride month performance of "Banderole," which honors the passing of a queer friend and neighbor. In this tender testament to the living presence of his friend's absence, Bell captures the way grief reorganizes time and merges the present moment with memory.

This entry also includes an audio recording of Bell activating this poem and the memories it holds in his own voice. 

"For me," Bell says, "dancing and poetry have always been about commemoration."

- Tess Michaelson and Willow Green, Interim Co-Editors 

press for an audio recording of the poem as read by Ian Spencer Bell


March 11, 2021

At night I run to the river,

in slowed footfalls find


in a sway of grass.

My friend died

and New York is still

and I can’t stop listening

to Aerosmith.

This morning though

alone in the studio

I played loud

The Rite of Spring,

shocking myself even,

and the electricians

working in the basement,

adapting switches.


[Image Description: Ian Spencer Bell and Joshua Tuason in Banderole at The Mount, August 31, 2020. Ian Spencer Bell kicks, arches, and reaches vertically as Joshua Tuason tosses his right arm and leg to the side. Photo by Nicholas Kahn. ]

[Cover Image Description: Ian Spencer Bell, his left arm held high, his right arm close to his body, dances between rows of pleached linden trees.]

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Ian Spencer Bell

Ian Spencer Bell is a dancer and poet. His first performances were danced outdoors and awarded a grant from the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. He has perform...
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