Read Write Body Poem #7: Deconstruct

This poem was also written for two prompts: Read Write Prompt #96: Spam. Spam. Spam. and for the latest mini-challenge from Read Write Poem, which was to write seven poems about the body in the context of October. This, I think, is kind of a more expansive work deconstructing my body in eight parts — hence the title. And a couple of the words from the Wordle prompt ended up in this poem. So, enjoy.


P.S. If you want to read everything else I wrote for the mini-challenge, click here.


Icicles, cracking
when the wind grows cold: battered bone, the rounded ends of
tibia, fibula, and femur. The dented faces of moons
collide with each other behind shifting knee caps
as I walk. I didn’t know knees
could protest so loudly. The asteroids that hit me
beneath skin were Lyme bacteria – I never saw
them coming. Maybe when I am sunk into the sleep of Earth, they’ll
dig up me up in fossil and wonder if
my femur bone was ever used for batting practice.


Release your hard-on, let it fall back
to your curled ground without a shudder. It’s that
simple. You needn’t shout your discovery of me, broadcast it
from spires and steeples as if
folks like me never existed. I know that we
were once illegal. But we who are
painted with many colors at once – we are
born every day. We are no big surprise. And maybe
if you untangle my blood, you’ll figure out
who I am.


I am dark by DNA:
north by northwest by south by east
by west by northeast. I am literal when I repeat Whitman:
I contain multitudes. Sometimes
when I stare at the brown flatlands and hills
that clothe my bones, I see the
exquisite black curls of Sequoyah’s dreams,
freehand dancing with an alphabet pen. The curls of my hair,
whipped and stripped into straight by chemical magic,
would be jealous if they saw them. Or I see Cill Airne
trying to break through, green and gray-castled,
in the buried blush that rises up to my surfaces. Or I see
steeled silver or azure cabochon eyes, punctuated by black hole pupils and
arising, blonde-topped, from the depths of Bavarian dirt. Or I see
Ghana’s gold, warm in its speech, bubbling champagne and tawny
up to my palms, or the hidden black from Kenyan shields
that my DNA forgot to switch on – whispers of regalia left behind
in a country that I never knew.


When I was eighteen, I had to issue
a writ of habeas corpus to free my brain from
the shackles of a small hometown that stole me and
claimed me only because of my chance deposit
into its arms. And I still must reissue it
from time to time:

when the steam engines between my eyes
lock up and pistons threaten to shoot forth
and explode cranial bone,

when the old lady in my head
screams dictates made out of shackles and chains,

and when I remember that I need not hide
my rainbow nature to avoid
loud bruises and cracked bones. My mind can be a dark tool
when its daggers are aimed at my own chest.


Wire-to-wire messages. Hidden Morse Code
beneath my muscle. Come alive, live wire. Crackle, buzz, and pop open
your T1 lines until they scream. Awake. The light and the shadows
call you to drink it all in, transmit data
up and down your body. Rattle your caged spine,
tingle the wires, watch the impulses
branch out from your center in blue. Feel everything.


Red muscle hills remain unerupted, unexulted
underneath blankets of yellow adipose snow. I am not
carved or chiseled in arcs of fine lines. I look nothing like
the blank marble bodies once buried beneath dirt,
pale arms and legs shivering underneath
the longing of an archeologist’s fingers that bend low to the dirt
and listen for its secrets with trowels and sifters. Nobody will ever
display frozen frames of me in the
silent halls of a museum. Instead, I make a good cushion for
sudden falls and sleeping heads.


There will be no flesh-and-bone investments
in my future, no progeny to behold
from the dimmed eyes of age. Thanks to the
burnt tubal bridges in my belly, my womb remains
forever silent, echoing only with the rattles of
my own breath and voice from above the
apex of the orange chakra glowing sitting beneath
my navel. Instead,

I yield forth words
into the shattered and shocked chaos
of being.

Written 10/14/09
© 2009. All Rights Reserved.

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About ravenswingpoetry

I am a 38 year old writer from Columbus, OH and the creator of Raven's Wing Poetry. I am a poet, seeker, fellow traveler, and autistic.
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2 Responses to Read Write Body Poem #7: Deconstruct

  1. Paul Oakley says:

    Good work, Nicole – as usual! I particularly like the experiential reality of the first stanza of section IV.

  2. Nicole,
    You sure packed a lot of life into this poem. Illness, sexual preference, ancestry, persecution, experiences, physicality, sterility among other observations. This was a very reveling and self effacing poem. You worked very hard on this and it is reflected in its complexity. Didn’t know you were of Cherokee ancestry, good. I found the journey held my interest. You constructed it well. I appreciate your personal candor. I enjoyed getting to know you through your poetry and the method you used to “Deconstruct”.

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