Robert Fitterman asks us to collect people’s language of the body. I think immediately of pain.
I know you/have staggered wept spiraled through a long room/banging your head against it holding crushed/bird skulls in your hands your many hearts unstrung
After great pain, a formal feeling comes
This is when I feel the pleasure.
The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs –
It bubbles up from the bottom of my torso
The stiff Heart questions ‘was it He, that bore,’
and zips through my tense flesh
And ‘Yesterday, or Centuries before’?
a full-body buzz that thumps behind my burning skin.
The Feet, mechanical, go round –
My headache feels like two people
A Wooden way
are pressing really hard
Of Ground, or Air, or Ought –
on two different cookie cutters,
fighting for the same piece of dough.
A Quartz contentment, like a stone –
The pain feels like burning, pins and needles,
This is the Hour of Lead –
and electric shock.
Remembered, if outlived,
Toilet head...my head feels
As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow –
like it is a toilet...filled with sewage.
My body, poisoned...sick and poisoned...chemically toxic.
First – Chill – then Stupor – then the letting go –
Kim Addonizio, Here, Poem-a-day, April 11, 2016 in Poets.org; Emily Dickinson, After great pain, a formal feeling comes; Robbie Arnot, Blood in Leather, the Lifted Brow; Bald girl with headaches, the daily headache; 34-year-old male; T4; injured 5 years, Spinal Cord Injury Update, Spring 2009; Volume 18, Number 1 in University of Washington Rehabilitation Medicine, Northwest Regional Spinal Cord Injury System; Corinne, The Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia Symptom Description Thread in Health Rising
All text is from the sources without alteration. I feel for anyone who goes through pain, especially chronic pain. Collecting these feelings makes me feel guilty. I weaved Emily Dickinson’s great poem within and began the poem with Kim Addonizio’s words, also about great loss. Loss, whether through death or the abandonment of a lover, is painful in the body.
Thank you to Robert Fitterman for this prompt today.