To some, moths are the souls of the deceased.
I guess this is where this all starts for me, 
it is a lens through which I look at the world, at myself, and at the struggle of people of color (poc) living underneath the glaringly artificial light of oppression. Artificial because it isn’t natural. Artificial because it is made by a very specific type of man. 
And moths, they are beautiful. 
They have been forced to operate in a space where they are unseen. Like their more accepted and celebrated cousins, butterflies, moths feed on the nectar of flowers. The nectar they search for reflects ultra-violet light. It is how they find their food. It is how they navigate the perils of the nocturnal. 
The light of the moon guides them. 
But the artificial light of man draws them into peril.

And like them, poc operate in spaces in between. We navigate through systems and night terrors meant to keep us where we are. Like moths, we too get affected by that artificial light. 

This analogy provides the basis for the libretto of Mena Muria, an opera inspired by the Moluccan community in the Netherlands (more details of which can be found here). The text takes the inspiration of the moth analogy and uses it to mediate the tale of Icarus (ill-fated son of Daedelus, who flew too close to the sun), a letter of military discharge that rocked the Moluccan community to its core, and the experiences of Moluccan Fighters, a group of professional kickboxers within the Moluccan community. 



with lithe and molten fingers, it lashes
at me! like the sun as it sits on its
azure throne.
its heat robs me of my skin, 
where does it come from and why does it begin?
where does it come from and why does it begin?
my skin! where has it gone? 
my skin! once filled with the wisdom of our past!
my skin! now new and unknown, protects and isolates me


We the commanders of the demobilization royal land 
force you to smile and nod and let the time go down the drain
to a place that you will never see,
or never hear,
but that you’ll definitely feel! 
You’ll feel it not with your brown skins, but with your hearts,
and your guts! and the rest of your viscera!
you are moths fluttering towards warmth
burning your wings over, and again, over, and again, an infinite Icarus!
you’ve never known what it’s like to be free,
so you have never been.

Infinite Icarus!
Like moths you flutter towards the warmth,
You aim for the sun but you never reach.
and you have been fighting for others
since the first sails appeared on your horizon,

but now is the time to fight for yourself
now take what is yours!
Let it crumble in your hands, 
thrust its dust to the winds.

You’ve never known what it’s like to be free,
so you have never been.
but now you will be 

with my ancestors on my back,
i carry the weight of those lost souls 
that came before me.
they don’t weigh me down,
they are the dust which covers my wings,
each of them etched with the vibrant memories
of the before times, when the sun shined and the flowers grew and oh maluku I haven’t forgotten

I cant remember that sun,
but they do
remember its warmth
and they remember when its rays 
kissed the back of their necks
and its true,
they tried returning to it,
only to burn their wings as they
drew closer to it,
again, and over again, and again, and over again, and again, an infinite icarus

the sun don’t shine for us no more
but as I carry the weight of those that came before
I realize that we don’t need the sun to shine,
we wont pay it no nevermind.
we will waltz our way to the pale beauty of the moon, 
and claim it as our own.
in its light we will show our colors.

i’ll go/you will follow

I’ll go/ and you will follow

I’ll go/ and you will follow