Poems

When you look in the mirror, do you see the truth?

Yesterday I stood
in front of a mirror
and undressed
and watched my body
change shapes
posing to one side
then the other
letting my eyes linger
on belly and hips
tracing the crooked line
from sternum to slit
observing how my shoulders hang
above my singing spine.

The mirror was distorted
eyes went soft
face slack
but I kept on looking
till the body smiled back
"come closer"

I brought my eyes to the mirror
that imperfect altar of Self
and sacrificed my vision
to Truth. 

It’s been a while since I posted a poem, and I told you all that I would share more of this kind of thing, so here we are. I love this poem, and I have been afraid to share it because it feels so naked. And of course that’s also what I love about it. And also, it’s really hard to tell sometimes if I love a poem because it’s good or just because I’m attached to it. At this moment in my life, I’m going to decline to make that judgement for myself and just say — here it is.

I love this poem because it represents a sortof crystaline moment between me (Mary, my mind, the person I think I am) and my body (this precious machine that’s been cursed to carry me around for as many years as she can stand it). In this moment, we came to terms with one another.

I don’t know if y’all have noticed this, but our culture is deeply hateful toward bodies. We can’t talk about bodies without having some heavy feelings. Any subject related to bodies tends to be fraught with tension. Sex? Check. Race? Check. Gender? Check. Health? Check. Body art, fashion, attraction, family planning, and even sports — check. When we talk about bodies, we really struggle. Our religions tell us the flesh is weak, shameful, and a scourge. People are so afraid of vulvas they think the word “moist” is gross because it makes them think of a corny line in a porno from the 80s. We hate bodies, even when we claim to love them. And the day this poem happened, me and my body bridged that gap. We looked at each other honestly and said, “Fuck them. I’m on your team.”

I wish I could tell you how I got there, but the story is longer than a single blog post should ever be, so … have patience, please.

That final bit … about sacrificing my vision to Truth … I feel like that deserves a moment’s consideration. I don’t want to see myself as anything other than I am. I promised myself a long time ago that I was done with any and all bullshit and that I was going to get real about myself and my life. I had (and have) very high aspirations about living in alignment with what I know to be true. That has at times been harder than expected. It’s something I’m still working on. But I’ll tell you what, if there is any divinity worth pursuing, I’d say it’s Truth itself.


Oh, by the way, take a look at the sidebar on this page. You may notice there are two new elements there.

One: I’ve created a Patreon. This is a way for me to share more variety of creative work in a place that feels safe for me. If you’re into what I’m doing here, I invite you to join the Patreon for more.

Two: I’ve added a list of links. Remember when blogging was a new thing and people had “blogrolls” or lists of fellow bloggers’ sites that you could click through to find new and interesting things to read? Yeah, well I’m trying to bring it back. I really hate that Facebook and Twitter have become the primary way to share creative work online. I think social media has its place, especially as a platform for activism and information-sharing, but I’m also looking to cultivate more personal, direct, human-to-human connections, and one way to do that is to share our work directly with one another rather than surfing the algorithm and hoping it washes us ashore on someone else’s timeline. So with that said, I’ve added two blogs by women writers who I admire and appreciate. I invite you to check out their work, and if you have a blog to share, I 100% want to see it. Feel free to share a blog link here!

And finally, I’m still working on bringing back the Weird Advice from Your Weird Friend column, but because of the unique times we’re living in, I’m being slower and more deliberate about what I share right now. That means I’m evaluating questions a little more closely and spending more time processing my answers before posting. So, if you would like to contribute to the column, I invite you to submit your questions here.