The Human Pyramid

by Bea Kilat

 Painting by Clairfoster Josiah Browné titled  The Village.  See more of the artist's work on Instagram @clairfosterjosiah

Painting by Clairfoster Josiah Browné titled The Village. See more of the artist's work on Instagram @clairfosterjosiah

A pyramid is a solid with a base and a face and a face and a face that fall into each other, meeting at a singular point: the apex. What you are reading is a lesson: remember this.

Pyramids are series, collections of flat surfaces joined at their edges to form the strongest geometric shape. Mathematically, the edge is defined as the line where two faces meet.  Our edges are trifold, and our pyramid is you and me and you and them and me again. Or, it’s the peak of rooftop tents sheltering outdoor bars, or the very particular shape of our bodies at three in the morning, arms linked, heads bowed.

Consider the individual; consider individual bodies. Consider the shapes we make and the figures we cut. 

Picasso believed we were recognizable insofar as we repeat the geometry of each other, people replicating circles, squares, sharp lines and soft edges. I recognize you as a person because you are shaped like me and I am shaped like you.

Do you see it?

Let’s look at it from the street level.

In a city individuals meet at their edges, limb upon limb, and form human pyramids. It’s five floors to the top, but your stop is the first landing. Say hello, say hi to singles in your area.

The human pyramid is a triumph, an example of what can only exist if we create it together. You can get there from anywhere. Bottom to the top, load in, twist up, ready and set. Go.

And so it mimics us, the city does — grows and expands and exists as something larger than it is. The winding staircase of baroque midtown buildings, the slope toward infinity as you ascend and descend toward and past reams and reams of books. There’s a magic geometry here: We form it, cover the surface area of town after town and fill it with our voluminous selves. And when we grow, we grow in concert with the edges of everything around us, or we collapse, we spill over the edge and stop existing as solids and bases and faces and exist as flat lines waiting for something to define us.

And it’s simple, really. It’s a first Friday, alone and disembarking and searching and finding, if only by accident. It’s repurposed shell casings from Midwestern bullets cut into gold shapes with your birthdate carved on either side. Shells from Cleveland, the land of your father and brothers and you for a summer, and Lebron forever, and this metalsmith, too. 

It’s St. Patrick’s Day and an Irishman asking who you are with and realizing the answer is everybody. It’s my story, but it’s yours too. It’s always been yours and ours, and we are not magic, but we can create it because the thing about the apex of any pyramid is that it’s the center. It’s where we collect, coalesce and combine. 

Do you see now, see how it’s always been happening? I am not you and you are not me, but I am defined by you and you by me and where we are only exists because we make it and hey, Mama, I made it.