NaPoMo 18 – Body / Self

Body / Self

A stretch of skin
inside billions of lives bacteria amoeba virus
parasite protozoa worm fungi bug

fields of subtle power

ways of communicating mysterious
tiny worlds in galaxies of tiny worlds
epic battles against invaders
scars and strategies
passed down through generations
loves and hates and matings wild
births and deaths at millions a moment
unknowable to the entity

The illusion of my and self
whether white blood cells marshal their troops in time
whether a fine flowing strand of DNA mutates
or doesn’t whether the big bang of the heartbeat
goes on banging or goes

How it feels to a universe

How it feels to be a god
living, creating, fragile
lifespan determined by beings only guessed at
who may believe they are part of some bigger plan
or may not

If their fate determines their god’s?

Obsession with myself

what a laugh

what a self, to depend on worlds

that do not depend upon self

What a universe! What a god!


A poem for Good Friday

A poem for Good Friday, from Shez, a Jewish Israeli lesbian-feminist poet and one-time punk rocker. The translation is my own.

Only I know what’s in Jesus’ underwear
I was with him just yesterday—
on his last night—
I didn’t laugh
I wasn’t surprised when
I lowered his underwear
I sucked I licked I slid in, pushing
I blew hard I breathed deep and
all shook up I shouted:
“Woman! Bestow upon me your beauty
your compassion, your grace
Dowse me in your passion
your tenderness, your womb”

April 29 – Asah

I call my Beloved Asah, meaning:

a cool spring day, the sun
flowing warm on my belly
new grass dew washing
winter from my back,
writhing and wriggling,
flinging my fine four legs
free as falling whirlybirds,
while the world waits,
breath held, for
me to rise and run

April 28 – None of us deserved this revision

None of us deserved this

None of us deserved this, but still
we’d been tried, judged, pronounced guilty.
We’d believed that sexy was a path
to power, that all those slasher movie bloodbaths
meant nothing. We’d believed that our lives
could be more than what it had taken to survive
to now, to posting an ad for sexual services
for sale on Craig’s List. Undeserved,
how our lives were as invisible as our corpses
left to rot in brush. They have her torso
but my left arm and don’t know it yet.
My skull, current-carried, now rests
between Natalee’s legs and Laci’s head
in the great barrier reef of the disposable dead.

April 25 – None of us deserved this

None of us deserved this

None of us deserved this, but still
we are held accountable. We’d bought
the lie that sexy was the same as having
power, we’d believed we had a right
to walk to work, to go to school, to live
in the city, to live in the country. We’d survived
through everything it took to bring us to post
an ad for sex on Craig’s list. Undeserved,
how our lives were as invisible as our bodies
left to rot in brush. They have his skull
but my mandible and don’t know it yet.
My skull, current-washed, now rests
between Natalee’s legs and Laci’s head,
in the great barrier reef of the disposable dead.

Gaia, Dreaming by Philip Metres

From the amazing contemporary poet Philip Metres, whom I first heard at Split This Rock. Philip’s own poetry blog is:Behind The Lines. This poem is from the chapbook Ode to Oil, which you can buy from Kattywompus Press here

Gaia, Dreaming
Philip Metres

She dreams she is body again.
In the open field, sound of sky and wind
through grasses.

And the water is a burnished mirror, mind for the wander.

The body beneath the klieg lights is ethered
but breathing. Her breast is rising and falling
not seen by human eyes.

And the wander is drilling under.

In the dream of the body, men
in white masks. The gleaming
instruments upon a table.

And the drilling is a kneading, a rising of what is under.

The sound of them like mandibles of ants,
a clicking like watches thousands of times
magnified, the machinery of mind.

And what is under once was over, flowing like rain.

The body is restless but tethered.
In the dream she sees herself as nothing
but table and harvest.

And the water is a river, coursing beneath our feet.

The men—now feathered—have lost their arms
to black wings. They lower their naked faces,
beak out the viscera of her dream

and the blood. She sees it all now
as if through a hole in the sky, beyond the blue ether—

And the blood is a burning river, mined from the vein

So often now I’ve no idea

So often now

So often now I’ve no idea who’s
contained within this skin: woman, child
(boy or tomboy), horse. Polar bears
are said to shed their hides and live as humans;
peel my skin and you could find a bear.
What we are is merely social invention:
white, female, human, dyke, all labels
threatening to become as stale as celluloid.
Only a sense of myself seems solid—I’ve
failed at that before. What is the opposite
of shape-shifting? It is my shape that’s fixed,
a screen these movies move across, made
without directors, without a leading lady,
with a cast of thousands, each one an I.

Amazon in the land of oranges—Eleanor Lerman

Finally I See Your Skin
Eleanor Lerman in Amazon Poetry, 1975

Finally I see your skin so scarred
by my use that I can close my eyes and tell you
where the constant embrace of my fingers is turned to gold
on your stomach, and the press of my legs
has turned your thighs to polished glass
No one else thinks of touching you now
Your body mentions me in all its movements
and has come to fit only my hands

I once told you that I had celestial information
cut on the inside of my mouth and it was years
before you wore it smooth enough to keep from
bleeding your tongue
Mindful of this
you come to kiss me one morning and find
I am old and brittle and pure
my mouth cracks open and planets start to pour out
universes form and begin to show
signs of life

Poem a day #27 And enter into my body

And enter into my body

Do you believe there is some place that will make the soul
less thirsty? […] Be strong then, and enter into your own body;
There you have a solid place for your feet.

It takes a certain strength
to enter into my body

To enter into the cave of my
ancient history, bloody handprints
decorating the walls

To enter into
the electrical storm raging
between nerves and neocortex,
where fight and flight are
Rock’em Sock’em robots who
cannot leave the ring, where I
may knock your block off then
retreat, neither action fully under
my control

It takes a reckless fortitude
to come home to a house
of sagging plaster hanging
from creaking joists settling
into a slope with no record
of termite inspections and taxes

Will you enter into if you must
learn spelunking? Will you enter
into if I cannot promise the survival
center of my brain stem will learn
to live civilized? Will you come home
to my bed in the room with no heat
and only one outlet?

Will you enter into my body,
into the animal core of me
through the door made for your key?

Just file it a bit on the end
and turn hard to the left, twice