Bodies are appliances (plugged in, burnt, stained and bent, infested with mice). Like poems, they stir. What do we become when we are no longer present-tense singular. What I mean is, when the past drapes around necks, trauma choke hold, and the past becomes bits of swollen teeth biting and bruising. Rot.
Or what I am trying to get at…a body is anthologized with several editors (some un-cited), disordered chapters, an offensive misspelling on page twenty-seven.
So you place body on shelf. If it matters enough to you, you alphabetize, you catalogue. You forget its there.
Insert dust mites, black mold, cobwebs of broken fingernails and flakes of skin.
You consider taking it off the shelf to read again or (let’s be honest) to read for the first time through. You get comfortable. Sip the tea you’ve steeped. Chew on the biscuits you’ve fanned out on snack tray. Chapter one is too boring. Chapter seven is too dark. You decide to skip to the end, but it is a run-on sentence which began several chapters before. Your tea spills, the biscuits are so dry, you feign a choke. You realize that to understand this body, you must read all its parts. Even the messy, awkwardly worded ones. So you dig your bones further into couch cushions.
This will be awhile.
originally published by great weather for MEDIA
When I was twenty-six, I gave my body away. But also at nineteen. And maybe twelve. Details are unimportant and have already been documented through ripped skin and hollowed tongue, so instead, I’ll make a mix tape of the trauma:
- Do I Move You?—Nina Simone
- Another Lonely Day—Ben Harper
- Colorblind—Counting Crows
- La valse d’Amelie—Yann Tiersen
- Burning Bridges—Chris Purkea
- Cleaning Apartment—Clint Mansell
- Change of Address—Marina Marina
- Fjogur Piano—Sigur Ros
- February—Gregory Alan Isakov
- The Rip–Portishead
- I Bleed-Pixies
- Son’s Gonna Rise—Citizen Cope
- That Moon Song—Gregory Alan Isakov
- Wake Up—Arcade Fire
- Home Again—Michael Kiwanuka
- Red Dust—James Vincent McMorrow
- The Winner Is—Devotchka
- Remember Me as a Time of Day—Explosions in the Sky
- Breathe Me–Sia
I’ll alphabetically list colors that could create a collage bright enough to illustrate it:
- bloodied knee from fist fight
- exercise on a body after thirty-six years of sporadic movement
- forgotten grapes left in backpack from a camping trip, found six months later
- guitar string—the unplucked one
- how can one really describe purple
- illiterate notebooks, smudged from the rain/ someone left the windows open so now all that is left to read is / mold
- january sky on a friday four hours before snowstorm
- krystal meth [sic]
- left wrist after the breakdown
- nest of loons
- orgasm (the kind that means something)
- pie crust—overbaked
- something similar to yellow, but more like rubberband
- the inside of her kiss
- umbilical chord left unsnipped until first birthday
- very sour cherries
- what suburban new jersey looks like when you are high
- x-girlfriend’s mole
- your biggest secret
- zest from pomelo
perhaps it is even more accurately documented in this transcript which traveled from public bathroom floor to underneath chuck taylors to my hands, raw from —-
X: It meant nothing.
Y: Only if nothing means the carpal tunnel syndrome of wounds.
Y: The numb. Knowing there is something there, waking up. Trying to yawn out of skin, but—
X: It can’t.
Y: Nothing means nothing anymore. Everything is found. Known. Cut-up into an argument.
X: But. But it can go away.
Y: Only if away means a permanent disconnection of hypnotized raw. The uncooked symbolism of everything that has been taken.
X: Or given—