I am carrying my body
Or maybe it carries me
A vessel of muscle and respiration
Of heartbeat and headache

Lifting me

From a place of relative peace
Into that river of fear and happiness
And sensation and tension and annoyance and excitement

That I call
“My day.”

It lifts me, and I drag it
Wheezing and protesting
Toward duties and desires
Straining toward outcomes.

And it propels me
On cardiovascular springs
Toward what I truly need
And sometimes I fall into satisfaction

Like throwing myself at the ground
And missing.

Sometimes I listen
Sometimes I know

More often I talk
Filling space with chatter
More often I wonder
With an unconscious dread
That suspects something inevitable is creeping up

Just behind.

Into moment

Never stopping, never slowing
And this body
Slices the waves
Cresting the swells
With barely-controlled rudder.

This mind
Pilots in desperation
Careening toward wants
Outrunning the inevitable

Only just

As it curses the body that drags it down with dull aches
Depends on the body that propels it forward with thankless exertion.

The mind shouts at the body
And grumbles that it does not obey.
The body whispers love in return,
And its heart breaks.

And the mind too is brokenhearted
But has no time
Even to mourn.

Caught careening from shore to shore
From panic to relief to panic to relief to panic to relief
Faster and faster
To the point of exhaustion.

If only the waveform could collapse
The oscillation slow
Until I could catch my mind’s breath

And know deep peace
In the pores of my soul.

Then  I could rest
But rest is of the body
And I have called myself
A thing apart

And I wonder why I do not hear my body speak.

But the body will continue speaking
Plead with me through its unceasing conversation

Of laying down, standing up, walking, smiling, talking, frowning,

screaming, running, sitting, eating, excreting, orgasm, sleep.

And all this time it moves me
And I, unmoved, imagine that it moves me.

I call it “IT”
As if it were my slave
And wonder why it responds to lashings
With aches and groans and knots.

I have enslaved myself
And as I batter my hull on treacherous rocks
I cry out for relief
I cry out for deliverance
And one day
I hope soon
I just might heed that cry

And relent.

3 Responses to “Body”

  1. July 24, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    Hey there,

    I’ve just started reading your blog – I just finished scanning through the posts from 2009 – and I am loving it. I haven’t roleplayed much, but I have researched a lot and have plans to play so many games. I am still trying to decide what type of roleplaying suits me best (since I haven’t played much, it’s a little hard), and I think my love of roleplaying is very close to your’s: story. What I want more than anything is rich story, characters, conflict, tension, and emotion.

    How this introduction about me fits as a comment here: I am a romantic, and I love poetry (and write it too, in case you want to be nerdy about poetry with someone). From that as a core part of me, I love stories and RPGs and music. Now, onto my comments on the poem:

    It flows very well, reminding me of times when I have disdained rhyme. It is elegant and emotional. What is the context? I’ve only read it once, but it screams “inner struggle”, “betrayal”, and “pain”.

    I’m not sure how much of my interpretation comes from the text, and how much from my mental connections, but the “Quality experience” of reading it was very good. Thank you.

    ~ Joshua

  2. 2 Joel
    July 24, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    Glad you’re enjoying it, Joshua! I’ll look forward to your thoughts on other posts too, if every you have them and share them.

    The context for this poem is nothing mysterious: simply the way I feel every day as I struggle to rise, struggle clear my head, struggle to move in space, strugle to thrive and rise above the haze of headaches and exhaustion and lethargy. It’s like the physical and emotional background radiation of my life.

  3. July 24, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    I definitely will be commenting more :)

    I see. I read the poem again, and enjoyed it at least 3-5 times as much. I read it quickly before, and the tone was delightfully melancholic. I read it again, and the details enhanced that feeling even more.

    I feel like I want to give you philosophical advice and lead you out of monotony – I really am a counselor at heart…

    Anyway, I will limit myself to one philosophical statement, from “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” by Robert Pirsig:

    “Every step’s an effort, both physically and spiritually, because he imagines his goal to be external and distant.”

    I could go on, but that could go on forever. So I won’t. For now, anyway. ^_^

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