Wednesday, February 27, 2019

The Poet in the Body

The other night when I was unloading the car, the neighbor pulled up in her truck.  She hollered, "Pay no attention to her.  She's just pregnant."  She laughed, and I noticed her friend in the front seat of the truck, leaning over to puke, just the tiniest bit of vomit.

As they went to the house, her friend said, "Shut up.  I'm only 4 days late."

I kept my own counsel.  If I hadn't heard the exchange, I might have thought they'd been drinking or had the flu.  Later I thought about how odd it was that a possible pregnancy never entered my mind.

These days, my thoughts return to the situation of our physical bodies quite often.  I have friends with very rare conditions:  one friend has kidneys that make cysts and another friend has a body that creates non-cancerous brain tumors.  Most of my friends are solidly in the land of middle age or older, so there's vast terrains of discoveries--not unlike adolescence, but without some of the fun discoveries about what bodies can do.  Or maybe the fun discoveries are yet to come.

Or maybe as we age, the fun discoveries don't revolve around our bodies but our spirits.

I'm still thinking about whether or not I could weave any of this into a poem that wouldn't be trite or cover ground that's well covered by past poets.  I joke about being rather medieval in my view of the body, that we're holy spirits trapped in a prison of flesh; some days I'm joking, but other days I feel that way.  It's a troubling theology, but it's also pernicious and hard to root out of my consciousness.

It's interesting to reflect on this theology/mind set that often leads to me feeling like I'm a spirit at war with a body.  It's only been lately that I've been trying to have a goal of working in partnership with my body--we each have different strengths and weaknesses.

I have no idea how many years I'd need to live to be able to integrate my body and my mind and my spirit into one unified self.   I often joke that I have less trouble understanding the concept of a three-in-one-God (Creator, Savior, Holy Spirit) because I feel fragmented myself.  Once again, I'm not really joking.

I wonder too, if I lived in a time with fewer stories on the news of physical assaults against the body, if I would feel this way.  I feel like every time I turn on the news, I hear about another priest's molestations or some other powerful man who has taken advantage of women in all sorts of sickening ways.   We live in a time of human trafficking and pornographic images at every turn.  It's exhausting.

I don't have a neat way of ending this post.  It's time for me to get ready for my walk.  Let me stare at the sea and get my thoughts ready for the day.

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