This weekend was a real treat for me. I was given a copy of Bone Dream to read at my leisure and was awestruck by the beautiful fluidity of the poems and lovely impressionistic writing that raises the human body to an art form.
In my youth I found myself striving, with elongated neck and arms stretched out in an arabesque-like fashion, to transform myself into the finest sculpture, bored as I was with my warm, pulsing body that resisted all efforts at serenity.
My parents handed me volumes of Shakespeare to feed my hunger for visual perfection, thinking the verses would train my imagination in a proper manner. Unfortunately they festooned my mind with visions of my awkwardness brought to light as a source of public amusement, although thankfully, this never grew to be the case.
But what if I had been alive during Shakespeare’s time, and had commissioned him to write verses about me? Would he have picked me up off my haunches and given me a good ribbing? Or would he have sat me delicately on his knee like a sack of potatoes and blown on my forehead, assuring me that despite his greatness, he still had room in his heart for a geek like me, who could prove a worthy challenge for his muse?
I like to think that after feeding me Turkish delight and grape soda, a mutual agreement might have been struck, which might have allowed me to show him how erroneous my physical mannerisms truly were and him to discover, through verse, what ought to be done about them.
Living inside my body is a constant source of affliction. My complaints range from: being unable to prevent myself from laughing when something serious is mentioned; starting to sniffle like crazy when I am around someone who gives me goosebumps; bending my neck with a frenzied rhythm when I am walking down the street and aware that eyes are on me; falling down in high heels at least once a week, usually while crossing an intersection; being nervous to smile in public if I didn’t have time for a lunch-time teeth brushing; worrying I’ll be seen laughing with my puffy eyes; fearing my blinking will cause an accident when I’ve neglected to use eyedrops; trying too hard to make eye contact with a friend whom I’m bent on ignoring; trying too hard to flex my facial muscles into a blank expression, hair frizzies, and so on.
Yet, audiences don’t seem to feel elevated by poems about this stuff. The small audience I showed my poem on this matter to, threatened to sue my ill-fitting jeans off for libelous slander against myself. Not having a lawyer at my disposal, I defended myself by crafting poems for the justice of the peace for the case, pleading sympathy for an afflicted poet with a penchant for lying. All charges were dropped when the plaintiffs realized that therapy sessions would only tease out my muse into greater fornication.
I realize now that maybe the problem wasn’t with my mannerisms … what I really needed were solid poetry workshops to kick my fledgling muse in the groins and eke out some quality turns of phrase.
Any who are inspired by my shortcomings are welcome to attend the workshops with me.