Uterine— you, grow where a baby might, barring genesis of any new life, take take taking all this body’s blood for yourself. Squanderer. Foe. Whoa the heart, whoa the kidneys that need a constant supply of the fresh stuff. Fibroid usurper, I can hear your silent pronouncement: Whither as you will, vital organs. I am God. I am taking Everything. Continue reading
BOOK REVIEW: SARAH MANGUSO’S “THE TWO KINDS OF DECAY”
I was a cheerleader. People who know me now, or knew me in New York in my goth-punk-poet days, find this very hard to believe. I wasn’t just a briefly experimental cheerleader either; I was a cheerleader for six years, from age 11-17. I was good at it, and I loved it (until I didn’t). And when I went back to my 20 year high school reunion, chatting and remembering faces, people clearly still expected me to be a cheerleader, or their image of what A Cheerleader becomes. I had discovered later on in life just how pretty young cheerleaders are viewed in high school and broader culture. I had no idea at the time. Even in the 1980s youth still had potential to be naive and innocent. I had no idea why a fellow female student I’d never met or spoken to would walk up to me in the school hallway and seethe into my face “Bitch!” But what’s really interesting to me about all this, and how it has remained a constant thread through my life: is that if you’re “attractive,” people assume your life is perfect. Continue reading
Even a physically healthy woman has trials, nuances, risks to bear. A body built to bear fruit. But she is a chronically ill woman—especially in the ways only a woman can be—serving a life sentence on a ship lost at sea. Storm or calm, cloud or sun, blood or egg. Continue reading
It descends on her, Cathartes aura, a black sky falling, cold gray eyes bound in fire. She sees it coming for her as if she’s rose carrion but she’s not and she screams at it “I’m alive! I’m alive!” As if the ache it brings could be diverted.
It lands. On her chest, pressing on her lungs so that she strives. For. Breath. Continue reading
It’s another one of those days. Aching from the inside out. Flutters of mild nausea if nausea, some nondescript clouds of not-wellness periodically eclipsing her. It’s a full moon, the last day of April, first day of the week. Mondays are for productivity. Hers has been thwarted by what comes weekly, sometimes more, maybe, sometimes less, who could ever say? The way the flare of an un-united body cycles is one of the Great Mysteries. Continue reading
She’s trying new things. New technologies; insulins, monitors, pumps, therapies. New heart-eating; less dairy, more fiber, no meat. New ways of perceiving, her place, in the world, in mind. And the firewitch blooms, Continue reading
Some nights the pain would come on in slow, gradual waves, waking me bit by bit until stillness was impossible. The body would by then need an outlet for the intensity of the pain, sometimes that meant curling up and rubbing my feet together, sometimes laying flat and shaking a leg repetitiously, eventually it meant needing to vocalize, to make small sounds, little pain mantras. These movements and sounds were the body’s necessary pressure valves and because they would wake my husband, who slept next to me and needed to go to work in the morning, I would slip from the bed deftly, pulling the bedroom door closed behind me, making the sofa my pain altar for the night. Continue reading
In early 1999, I moved to New York City with intentions of living the poet life, while I had gotten a day job as an administrative assistant at a large nonprofit. The office was on Fifth Avenue a block from Union Square, my bosses were kind, the staff was diverse. Our receptionist was a Haitian immigrant; she went to mass during her lunch break. She had a beautiful smile I captured with a Polaroid camera.
I was a bit of a hot mess back then, partying several nights of the week, barely making it to work on time, keeping myself alive with type 1 diabetes. At 25 years old I’d had type 1 for twelve years. Often I’d sneak away to the utility closet during the work day, lock the door from the inside and slunk down the wall next to the wheeled yellow bucket and mop, just to take a 10-15 minute nap. Continue reading
She wonders about the sun. Coming in the front window in a blast of glory every cloudless afternoon. Whether 27 degrees or 97, it is there warming with its generative touch. Two hands rubbing together excitedly for more lifetimes than humans can count. Our blazing star gets one suntime, which includes one sundying. Human time is made by this same heat pulse. Yes, she thinks, our blazing star. Continue reading