Coming Home: Day 16 – getting caught up

Ok– back home, and I’m getting caught up. Two orgasms in five hours (just hush up if that sounds slow/easy for you — it’s a big deal for this girl here) — one I got to go to sleep after, one complete with sobs.

This morning, now, I feel full and raw, wide open, stripped, visible, vulnerable — and just right.

On legs like those of a newborn foal. You know that kind of wet and shaking, the newly borne thing just learning to bear its own weight? That’s where I’m living these days.

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Found a wonderful anthology just the other day, called This Art: Poems About Poetry (Michael Wiegers, ed; Copper Canyon Press), which includes this:

By the Rivers

That spring he was fourteen,
sun on the walls, stale air
sweet in Bergen-Belsen for the first time,
he told me he thought of the nurse
who held him when he was small.
He found a corner
where they did not catch him:
rush of the brilliance and the heat
and no one there. He opened his clothes,
hunched over his wasted body,
and made it spill.


The poem wants to look forward, not
back, but out there as far as it can see
are ruins: body of Abel body of god body
of smoke. And no recognizable
child to mourn.

So it begins with longing.
Or with fear, that old dog
stinking beside it, scabby and blind.

And all the time the future
is pushing up uncalled for
under the cold ground, or gliding down
like the first snow, wet syllables
that melt and soak up the darkness.

The poem wants to get out of
where it is. But is instructed
to remember. In shameless daylight.
By the rivers of salt.

-Shirley Kaufman

I read this last night on an airplane, one that lifted off from the East Coast after 10pm and carried me forward through the night back toward home. Look at those lines: He opened his clothes, /hunched over his wasted body, / and made it spill. 

At Bergen-Belsen. Bergen-Belsen.

That’s not radical self-care. That’s something entirely beyond. Maybe just simply and perfectly human.

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This is what I wrote in my notebook, the day I found that book of poems:

I worried last night that I am too obsessed with sex, that I have made it my whole life, that trauma has inflected me this deeply. But then why is that a thing to worry about? People obsess over all kinds of things, whatever they love: why do we have to shove an interest in sex into a box called pathology? I worry what people will think: is this all disgusting? Am I saying too much?

(Too much again — of course. Too much. What girl isn’t too much? What longing? What desire?)

I’m stressed right now about the blog, about my writing and orgasms, feel strange and difficult in my body. Maybe because I’m not writing about everything, just this one thread of my life, the part where I’m trying to/wanting to come every day for a month and write about what that does for me, but not sharing all the other aspects of myself-ing to which this process is tethered and tugging. Still more bifurcation, still more distinctions between real life and pretend/fantasy — here’s maybe this cognitive dissonance: the bifurcations, the separations, don’t really hold these days. It’s not a fantasy me who wrote these things down and shared them with the world — it’s the real me. My exact real me. All my muscles are tense, something in me doesn’t want to let go the armor that has protected me, these splits, these different selves: holding unreleased orgasm, holding the full on feel of release, holding spent screams, holding the possibility of really letting me have me. 

I want to learn new places, read the strange books, feed my words into the world, this promise, this oddity, this chemistry, this compromise, this practice. 

Did I say at the beginning I was getting caught up? That’s exactly right — when my head goes spinning, I get caught up in the panic, the worries, the explanations, the analysis, the I need to figure it all out. That, my friends, is from a lifetime with parents who want you to understand and describe your feelings (but don’t always want you to have those feelings), then an adolescence with a man who wants to yank your feelings out by their roots and use them entirely against your emerging, just-budded body. It’s easy for me to get locked –especially when I have only my fingers on myself (no other chemistry, no other technology, no loud distracting buzzing, no hot heavy thud of water)–into a cycle of panic: why is this taking so long? When will I ever work right?

This, then, is the practice (how many times will I write this exact phrase this month? Far fewer times than I’ll repeat it to myself): come back come back come back to this body right now, and understand that you get to have everything that you want, body, and we get to be perfect in exactly our responses in this (any) moment. This is not a contradiction, even and especially when what I want is to come fast and what my body is doing is lingering for some long minutes in the pleasure of the plateau, the longing, the long slow burn and build.

Today I wept for that practice, for the release, for the wanting more and how I have to/get to keep learning that my body knows its infinite possibility — and that when I quit trying to force it/us/myself to come/feel/respond in a particular way, so much more joy and release can open up in me. Contract, then release. Then release. Then release.

Thank you, body. Thanks, too, to your bodies, out there. Be easy, and come as you wish. See you tomorrow.