quotes from Exile and Pride by Eli Clare:
“…home starts here in my body, in all that lies imbedded beneath my skin.”
I’ve told enough tales to call my body an animal. Or to claim these limbs as attachments to a novella. But really I’ve got an unedited manuscript of footnotes rooted in me. And to welcome others in requires a comfy chair and magnifying glass.
“The body as home, but only if it is understood that bodies are never singular, but rather haunted, strengthened, underscored by countless other bodies.”
I arrived here through a channel of others. Took up hobbies and habits due to the bones I’ve curled against. I can never take credit for all these scars and secrets; they are a multi-voiced poem; they are survivors of a learning curve.
“The body as home, but only if it is understood that place and community and culture burrow deep into our bones.”
The artists kept me safe. The hippie from California. The old witch who lived up in the mountains who made me tea from collected rain water and musk. I never had a welcome mat, so someone sewed me one made from grass seeds and metaphor.
“The body as home, but only if it is understood that language too lives under the skin.”
Not all of it can be pronounced or even spat out. Much of it is housed in silence, but vocabulary ferments, growing stronger each day. [But] when silence creates pattern, remove the middle and engrave the opposite.
“The body as home, but only if it is understood that bodies can be stolen, fed lies and poison, torn away from us.”
I didn’t understand that once a body is broken into, it may be difficult (if not impossible) to hem away the frayed ends. There is no skin that hasn’t felt rip or rummage, but I wonder in what ways can we relearn peace within a body’s war zone.
“The body as home, but only if it is understood that the stolen body can be reclaimed.”
But how? I strap giant felt erasers and stainless steel pads to my back, to scour the paths I walk and rub away the ghosts which follow. And we learn new words. And we strum music that becomes anthems that become balms for our brains. And we speak up and out and into and toward. To recover. To redeem. To rescue ourselves from the desire to leave.