Yesterday I attended a veterans’ writing group in Sebastopol. The topic was the body. In an hour I came up with this and then performed it in front of the crowd.
Like all of us, I have not only loved my entire body, but also I have lusted through and over my body. I have imagined it as a strong and heroic body and continue to shape it as such. Little boy dreams never die.
Regardless of whether I was fifteen or whether I will ever be forty-five, I challenge my body to live. Now, however, by writing about this, I wonder about the purpose for all of this.
I am vain. I am selfish. I excite myself. I like to be an I, and I know that it is my body that first and foremost represents me as an “I.” Yes, I may be short and spiky, brown and bullish, but my body, the way I have trained it, guards me from warring eyes. And because I have loved and lusted to create what it is, it rewards me with a special style and stance. Straight neck, round shoulders, the prowl of a panther.
It is because of this confidence and love of my muscles that I can be free and bold with my ideas. It is because of my dancing on the streets that I can more freely open up my mind. Nietzsche said that a day without dancing is a day that is wasted. I believe I must be in tune with my body in order to be in sync with my soul.
My love for body then helps me to open up to you—to give to you. I want you to take pleasure in the ornament before you. I pay respect to you by offering you my art, an art that does not require us to speak or search for words or abstractions. I offer you my body as a substitute for drawn out discussions and uncomfortable silence. My body tells you this story:
I manicure my hands so I can touch you softly.
I shave my face so I can kiss you with grace.
I strengthen my legs, arms, and shoulders so that I can lift you to your destiny.
My lungs are here to breathe your breath.
I am strong for your desires. I am built to be your house.
Allow my bones to smile your smile.