Stupid human bodies

Look at the god, good-looking,
how he looks at the ground,
willing it real, willing himself
to love where he hardly lives,

in his stupid human body,
an always ailing thing.

The good editors at SWWIM published my poem “Energize” this week and I’ve been thinking about late fall 2015, when I composed it. A couple of months into my sabbatical, my mother became very ill with what turned out to be non-Hodgkins lymphoma, so I was flying up and down highways, trying to see her and help with her care. I was also grieving other transitions–my son had just started high school and my daughter had left for college–and working on various manuscripts with the desperation of a half-crazed person, plus perimenopause symptoms were tormenting me. This particular poem arrived during a trip to a Modernist Studies Association meeting in November; it occurred in Boston and I missed the first day because I squeezed in a visit with my mother on the way north (she lives near Philadelphia and I’m in Virginia). After things wound down on Sunday, but before I hit the road to Pennsylvania and then Virginia again, I ducked into a church for shelter during some rain and ended up captivated by the Tiffany stained glass, which seemed bright and alive despite the dark weather. So there’s a little Jesus in this poem, a little Star Trek (I was really, really longing for transporter technology), and a bunch of mid-life angst.

I’m still working on many of the mss I was trying to bring into being that season. This summer been largely devoted to revision and submission. But my mother, after that terrible year, entered remission and is doing fine. And while I’m just as much of a seeker as I was then–open to random encounters with gods, fundamentally uncertain about what’s real–my sense of personal crisis is less urgent. (Maybe politics crowded it out?)

However, I received sobering lab results yesterday. I haven’t been feeling great and the numbers make sense of my malaise, but probably not in a take-a-pill-and-fix-it way. I still have to talk to my doctor and figure it out, but I think the diagnosis will be prediabetes and I’ll lose all my comfort foods right as I head into a stressy September. I feel upset about it but also annoyed at myself for that useless emotion, because I’d generally rather skip to acceptance than wade through messiness first.

More transformations ahead; time to grab the steering wheel (transporter controls?) and pay attention. I guess we never stand still.

jesus tiffany


4 responses to “Stupid human bodies”

  1. Yes, we never do get to stand still. So sorry about your health. But, pre means the numbers can change in your favor. Best of luck and willpower with this.


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