Monday, April 1, 2013

The Body - Seven Stages Prompt

Prompt 1 Share a moment in your life when your body taught you a lesson

Hold it. I need to hold it. It was a common phrase of the voice in my head. I remember it starting about grade 6; when hall passes were needed to go to the bathroom. Sometimes 'the holding' made my legs twist so much that I imagined my insides twisted like shiny metalic fish guts. This very squirmy image came to me the night I faced off with a shiny metal toilet in an intensely glaring white “holding cell”. I was again holding, squeezing tightly because all my movements could be seen on the monitor by uniformed MEN in another room; my fingers still inked black so I dared not soothe my tummy with a rub. I imagined squeezing hard with the whole of my body and praying, for that is what it seemed, for morning. Suddenly the Hold and twist was interrupted by a strong desire for a pencil for the poem untwisting inside my head - about redemption. And I kneeled and focused on remembering the words not the feelings because I would not get a pencil here.

I did give birth to a very visceral poem that night. The next day I was free from more than the holding cell - I was free to control my urges to Piss on the World.

What does it take to respond to basic human need?
You know that feeling you get when you succumb -- to cold, coffee, or fatigue; your urine recycled – reaching that urgency, numbed without the benefit of pissing feeling? You know how the next urge demands your immediate attention? How your mind goes to your knees pressed closed, tighter -- hold on, keep you together, begging -- that need for a tree urgency.
Let’s start here… begging, silently before a stainless steel toilet-water fountain. An ensemble. Everything less than a full-step away. Every being in constant view, monitored by human-bodies elsewhere in the building.

What did start there…where I could not sleep or drink or piss freely. I was arrested.
I thanked the man who knew procedure, saw Me, then did the decent thing.
Knees together, hands folded what came next was unrestrained.

Do you know that feeling you get when you pass the you can't even count them, person on the street who has no place to sleep, to drink, to piss and compassion demands your immediate attention?

PROMPT 2 Reflect on a Scar
What the idea of scarring means to me is that time has passed and there was an attempt to fix a wound that decided to remain visible. But many scars may not be visible or is that a rationalization because maybe they are visible in ways we do not wish to admit. Not enough pretty language here so I will merely declare that I do not get my fingernails polished nor is a true manicure a habit of mine. My nails may often reveal that my last shower was 2 days ago but the threat of the teacher’s assessment of my hygiene is long gone.

Sometimes when meeting someone new I look at my fingers and see how ragged they are and that like Sylvia Plath 'Cut" that I have had a thumb onion experience, many layers of eyes tearing and opportunity for poems.

What a thrill -
My thumb instead of an onion.
The top quite gone
Except for a sort of hinge

Of skin,
A flap like a hat,
Dead white.
Then that red plush.

Prompt 3 Select a Body Metaphor to start, end or just muse upon
To Keep Abreast...
In general it is impossible to keep abreast, more so if it is not clear what it is that you wish to be informed of. Serendipity abounds and there are tweets, chats, feeds, and occasional face time that distract.  A slow reader, I feel compelled to ingest so I scan much. I see patterns and connections and want to transform data into information, into understanding ,and therefore - story.  And all this is somehow tied to the quest or question "What do you wish to become when you grow up?

On the precipice of growing old I recall this as a common intergenerational question among near strangers; often posed by distant relative at equally distant gatherings of family – and the older men leering at my breasts as they asked. I was approaching thirteen when an elder who I can to see as some old guy rudely blurted; “Obviously she is made to be a mother”.  It was not so obvious to me who planned to be the 1st college bound member of my family.  But there was an echo in the remark that I shared with my generation.

This echo ebbed and flowed throughout my life. It was uncanny how much of my life quest became to create an uncommon yet perfect family. One that resonated in the world like the Helen Doss story "The Family Nobody Wanted". I was excited to find a copy on the Library discard pile for a dime. More eager to share it with my step-daughters than they were to embrace it.
It was an inspiration for many 'penny for your thoughts' moments during my emergence into womanhood and assumptions of leering men.

I felt such deep dissapointment on so many levels when I found it discarded by them. It took me years to realize that creating a family was not the same as being a Mom.

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