An Open Letter to Mary Lambert

In which Daniel Wolfert and the Seattle-based, bipolar singer-songwriter, spoken word poet Mary Lambert have something in common.


To Mary Lambert,

I would like to think that, across my seven semesters at the University of Puget Sound, I have learned much, yet when I think back, what comes to mind first and foremost is the ability to inconspicuously cry in public. The key is breathing. Few people notice tears, but they notice if your breath becomes uneven. Inconspicuous crying is simply a matter of steady breathing.

I’ve had many opportunities to make use of this ability. As a freshman, when I didn’t have many friends, I would sit in the piano lounge outside of Diversions Café and read all sorts of fiction. Much of it was sad, and made me cry. Much of it was not sad, and still I cried.

One recent opportunity, however, was at your concert on November 6th at the University. I wrote an article about the performance for the student newspaper, The Trail, found here (, but it did not describe the moment in the concert that struck me personally. That moment was your poem, “Lay Your Head Down.”

The poem, found in the video below, was your only performance that night that I was not already familiar with. I knew all the songs you played, but this poem took me by surprise, and I found my head in my hands, sobbing uncontrollably.

I admit that my technique was poor. My breathing was ragged, and probably obvious to my fellow audience members. But I could not stop. I cry because you are a rare role model for queer people, and people with mental illness, and women, and all human beings. I cry because no matter how many friends I make, I cannot shake the feeling that I have no friends and I have never had friends and will never have friends. I cry because I want children. I cry because I’m afraid I will never have children.

I cry because the world is so loud. I cry because people do terrible things to one another and I know that this is to be expected and I cry because I know this is to be expected. I cry because there are young men whose hands I wish I could hold and whose shoulders I wish I could cry into. I cry because they could never feel the same way about me. I cry because it’s not their fault, and it’s not mine, but it’s still so unfair to have so much love and no one to give it to.

I cry because I am so blessed to be sitting in this coffee shop overlooking the Puget Sound, and because the world is so big but the horizon is so wide and has been waiting for me to run to it all this time. I cry because, like you, I live so well.

So well.

With all due respect,

Daniel Wolfert