This has been a week of poetry. Shouldn’t life’s storms always be followed by art?
Earlier this week, my friend Jess sent me a poem which she wrote about me. I love it so much that I can’t express my feelings except to say this: as long as she’s in my life, I will be fine. (Or, as she would say: “Fuck fine. You’re gonna be GREAT!”) Being understood this deeply by another person makes you believe everything is possible.
Jess created this in response to a prompt she gave students in the class she teaches:
“Write a poem about a body that has been shaped by the life it lives.”
Of dancing, leaping, hiking.
Short nails for ridding of dirt and food she’s plunged her hands into.
Arms with freckles on the shoulders from worshiping sunny days.
Feet. Oh the feet.
Small toes and strong arches covered in various stages of callous from her delight in barefootedness, in feeling grass, dirt, and floor echoing her movement.
A belly that she boldly calls a belly.
Kinetic energy waiting to quiver with laughter constantly.
Occasionally undulating in roundness as she runs marathons or eats delectable pastries the world over.
But always touched with intentional love by both her and her lovers.
Her hips… but what I mean is her ass.
I’ve mailed her a bumper sticker that says, “The Booty Don’t Stop,” an ode to the power of her backside.
It gives her hips punctuation as she twists and flows – not only dancing, but just walking.
I’ve spent countless hours reading her body just as much as her words,
With half of her self running alongside her voice like a current in her skin.
She has been shaped by this current like a tree by the coastal winds.
And like a thunderstorm or a bird in flight, I sit in awe of the power embodied.
Let’s all pause for a minute, and give *snaps*. My Jess is an artist.
The same day, I saw something on my drive home that made me have to write, too. (Raleigh has gifted me more astonishing sidewalk visions than any city I’ve known. That’s saying something, because the street scenes in Mexico and Italy border on magical!) So, here goes:
She glides down the sidewalk.
Her grace draws me in – then I notice those ass-kicker boots.
She’s in black from her head to her leather-clad toes, and
Dark hair, pale skin, proclaim a monochrome identity.
If life were the simple colors of her presence,
I’d stop at the word “Goth.”
Instead – because life is endless, swirling color –
I look again, and see the splash of purple.
This rebel daughter, backpack heavy, stride sure,
Has stopped to pluck wisteria on the walk home from school.
Now the essence of spring in the south pours from her wintry hand.
When I dwell on serious girls in love with illicit flowers,
When I wonder what other desires curl beneath her raven hair,
I think of you.
Life growing from death; brilliant blooms on a strangling vine –
Your heart would understand why I cannot let this image