Her Body

(I gotta Facebook page thing!)

Her body
Was the canvas where you painted your myths
In come and similes and piss
The focal point of all your bliss
The only part of her you’ll ever miss

Her body
Will be a vanishing point in the desert
A line in the sands of time
Running through your hands
The silken strand
That drags your eyes
To the horizon
Where your future stands
The wandering caravan
That spans
The skeleton road to Samarkand

Her body
Will be a theme park for ideologues
Self-righteous pedagogues
Gender-political demagogues
Who hog the scene
Flogging anarchist zines
Filled with revolutionary schemes
And Utopian memes
While under the clogs of your flag burning screams
Her body slips into the soil unseen

Her body
Will be a garden planted with your fears
A bowl to catch your tears
A reminder of the years you spent
And those that went astray
The hours, minutes, days
You couldn’t bring yourself to say
Because you knew her body stayed
But not that she had slipped away

She is not the sum of all who went before
Her body’s not a metaphor
Her unkissed lips are not a funeral pyre
Her gaping wrists are not the mouths of liars
Her clitoris is not the primal fire
(the truth of it is infinitely higher)

Her body
Was woven from pieces of pain that no longer hurt
Has wounds that will not heal
Indignities she will not feel
Skin peels
Winds wheel
Limbs kneel
To hymns bashed out with soulless zeal
And dust steals back
The only proof that she was ever real


2 thoughts on “Her Body

  1. Beyond all criticism, pro or con, I offer an observation. This poem instantly reminded me of certain cuneiform verses found on tablets from Old Babylon and translated into English. In 2004, Stephen Mitchell published his New English Version of “Gilgamesh” and explained how to parse and edit cuneiform versus (written vertically and in a continuous stream). In awe of Mitchell’s work, the ancient verses, and his method, I downloaded a fair few tablets worth of continuous cuneiform to English translations. I then parsed and edited them as Mitchell prescribed. Those verses written in praise of the “Queen of Heaven, the Goddess Inanna” Goddess of love, fertility, and war — also called Ninnanna, Ninsianna, and Inannu – afford a striking resemblance to your poem, “Her Body.” I don’t mean to imply that you’ve ever seen those versus written nearly 4,000 years ago; few have; but they are uncannily similar.

  2. That’s very interesting. To my shame despite having worked with people who studied Cuneiform and having done Theology, I haven’t read Gilgamesh. But this was written, as those who’ve known me for w while will possibly recognise, about a very good friend of mine who tried to kill herself last year (and thankfully failed). One of the things we wondered together afterwards was (she had a reasonably high profile online and a loyal following) was how people would talk about her death. One of the things that always happens with death is the way it gets “claimed” both by family and friends, and by movements and groups – to the extent the individual gets lost.

    She *is* very interested in Cuneiform and has read Gilgamesh and every mythology stemming from it many many times, and I wonder whether that part of her came through and made me write that way.

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