Sunday, April 08, 2018

NaPoWriMo Day 7: Two Selves Deconstructing I-Thou

Prompt: Write out a list of all of your different layers of identity. Now divide all of those things into lists of what makes you feel powerful and what makes you feel vulnerable. Now write a poem in which one of the identities from the first list contends or talks with an identity from the second list.

We were pre-warned that this might turn into a heavy exercise (it did, sort of). All these questions of identity made the lumber room that is my brain dig up Meredith Brook's classic anthem, 'Bitch' (I'm a bitch, I'm a lover, I'm a child, I'm a mother...etc.) It also dug up Martin Buber's 'I and Thou', and its philosophical discussion of two modes of existence...and then my brain went OK ENOUGH LET'S WITH THE WRITING ALREADY and the thing below took shape in a form that skree'd out of control into unknown and unexpected terrain.

Costumer vs Rebel/Fighter

You’re a rage of hurricanes and the dam breaks, the tide comes in like a flood
Or you’re fire, burning hot as the blood in your fighter-bitch-swordswoman veins
Acting on Shakespeare’s all-too-real proverbial stage, channelling dreams and fury
Through the metal tines of pen nibs skittering over paper that’s a paler shade
Than your charred-stone psyche will ever be again, spatter-patterned by suicide attempts
Chronic pain, depression-dives into the blackest pit where they say Wonderwoman, Superwoman
Should rise, triumphant, from.

Triumphant? Perspective: mine, or yours. Or ours.

Costumer. Daughter. Researcher. Writer. Poet. Love. Friend: 
Compartments in my - our - brain
Labels stitched on tight with the black-and-white thread of expectations and non-expectations.
Every costume I sew is another identity, another shell, another made-self
In the great cosplay called Life, and every time fire scorches the blackened walls of your heart
When the hurricane tears down the last hasty-hammered fence built around the reserves
That bolster your bright (but secretly flagging) smile
I mend. I stitch. I construct. I rebuild what’s been consumed.
I preserve what can be preserved from the ashes of our rage and sorrow
From the battered safehouse where you, the real you – the real me – hides
Under lock and key.


Liz said...

Really like this concept: " Every costume I sew is another identity, another shell, another made-self"

Shuku said...

Thank you Liz! I've often thought about that, when I'm putting together costume pieces for the children's choir I teach, or for special costume events, or when I'm just doing research on the look of the piece. They say clothes make the (wo)man, and to a certain extent I find it *is* true - I was a theatre major, so a clothing change *was* another identity, for the most part.