Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Our Bodies Know...


I personally loved this week's topic from Poetry Thursday. The prompt was "the body knows." I believe our bodies know things before we know them mentally. I think our bodies are open to physically recognizing things that we aren't ready to recognize them emotionally or mentally. I also think I personally spend most of my waking life ignoring what my body knows or trying to distance myself from what the body knows. Even so, in a lot of my poems, I try to root them in some sort of combination of physical knowing and mental/emotional knowing.

This image in this rough draft was what immediately occurred to me after reading the prompt. There are two other "Domesticity Poems," which I've been working on for (on and off, mostly off) a year. As always, Happy Poetry Thursday!


Domesticity Poem #2

Every night, we lie together,
the four of us, bodies touching,
along the edges of the bed.
The cats remain at the corners,

squaring off, between our legs.
Their green eyes flash as they calculate
the positions of our bodies, the territory
they each claim as their own.

You and I are not as nocturnal,
not as concerned with distance
and space. We sleep, arm slung
over chest, knee pressing ribs,

skin rubbing against skin. We toss
and turn the whole night, a slow
silent waltz. We meet in the middle
then separate, tumbling together

in our crowded double bed.
Even in sleep, our bodies
know our boundaries, and we push
against them all night long.

17 Comments:

bgfay said...

"Even in sleep, our bodies know our boundaries,"

That's a good line and a good ending to your piece. I find that a good lead pulls me into a poem, and that's important, but it's the last line or two that makes the poem one I'll remember long after I've read it or one that I'll forget before a minute passes. Your ending puts this piece solidly in the first camp, and I'll think about that tonight as I lie down with my wife to go to sleep.

Brian said...

I like your poem and how you bring to life the territory that we mark off, even, as you say, in our sleep. This close, no further, unless.....

Dennis said...

Very cool – I get a floating sensation with this – I love the idea of a slow silent waltz. That’s perfect! Great use of the prompt.

Emily said...

I really like this. I like the simplicity of the image. Your last lines were perfect. well done.

Crafty Green Poet said...

I really enjoyed this, especially the cats eyes flashing and the wonderful ending...

gautami tripathy said...

This is not about territory in bed. It is what we have in our daily deallings. Invisible, unwritten but still very strong.


gautami
In-between state of consciousness

Poet with a Day Job said...

Nice poem. So quiet, meandering, and descriptive are the stanzas that prepare a scene so well to take us to this smack of an ending:

"our bodies
know our boundaries, and we push
against them all night long."

Really well done. Also I lvoe the cats sharing the bed. I've got one of those and basically, she's in charge of who sleeps where.

split ends said...

Lovely. I like that this works on several levels (so I guess I disagree with Guatami). I think on a very visceral level this holds true--how our bodies know and respond to each other, without the conscious participation of the mind. And because of that, this also speaks well to the subconscious, internal ways we react to each other.

These are just my thoughts, of course, and the poet may know better.

Fragmentsinsight said...

I like this, the imagery is very vivid. And I like the comparison to cat territory.

jim said...

Yes, the bodies know this even in our sleeping (as they do in our waking). For me, this works because of the setting up the poem first with the cats and their wholly feline bodies and independent inclinations. They embody that simultaneous touching and separation.

twilightspider said...

This evokes such strong images for me - you've drawn a wonderful picture here, both physically and mentally. I love that it's so familiar (so domestic) and yet it's sensual and somewhat alien (like the cats' nocturnal habits). So much to chew on.

Natalie said...

I think it's so true that our bodies know things before we can conceive or perceive of them mentally or emotionally. I have experienced this many times. Your poem speaks of domesticity wonderfully. Thanks for sharing this.

Norma said...

"The cats remain at the corners,
squaring off, between our legs."

Since our cat sleeps with us, I liked the contrasting of the restless with the relaxed.

I look forward to the series (or sequel).

Clockworkchris said...

I really loved "slow silent waltz" and "our bodies know our boundaries." You really used the prompt in a unique way. It was a pleasure to read. I wish you luck on your poetic and other writing ventures. I just published and although I'm selling next to nothing-my dream still came true.

Jessica said...

Thanks for everyone who commented and stoppd by. I have had a hellish week at work (our first week of the term again) so I'm sorry that I haven't responded until now.

bgfay -- While I was writing this, I was writing towards those last lines, as I often do. I'm glad you liked them.

brian & gautami -- I agree that there's a level of territory here, perhaps even in our waking life, too. I still haven't decided if that's a good thing, a bad thing, or a domestic thing.

dennis - thanks for the comment. I kind of felt floating when I wrote this, I'm glad it translated.

pwadj -- both cats are in charge of who sleeps where, and they are the ones who get the most of the bed. I'm still not sure how that works.

split ends -- I think both you and gautami are right, if that's possible. I think we make a lot of sub/unconscious territories and boundaries in our lives that we navigate as well as the conscious ones we choose to define. I also think the sub/unconscious ones inform the conscious ones, so for me at least, they are fluid and connected.

jim -- thanks for the comment. I didn't really know why the cats had to be in there, other than to be true to the experience. Now I know...:)

chris -- thanks for the comment. Oh, to be a published poet...even with the low sales. That's pretty much par for the course in our genre. Yet, at least people are reading poetry online. :)

Jackal said...

Some beautiful imagery within this piece...
I especailly liked
'a slow silent waltz. We meet in the middle then separate, tumbling together'

Mary said...

I love the image of the cat, with its green eyes. Great poem. My bed is certainly very small and cramped, with just two of us! Well, we traded our full futon for a free full mattress - when thought it was a queen. Your poem, of course, puts the situation more artfully!