An advocate for mental health, disability, and chronic illness–she pens her words carefully but manages to add so much strength to them too. She is an active contributor to A Cornered Gurl and is giving our little community lessons in life through words. The poem that I have selected to feature is entitled, “Lines On My Body.” It is an amazing flow of words and ends solidly too. Everything about it makes me happy to be a writer of the genre, poetry. And now, “Lines On My Body.”
Lines On My Body
I want these lines on my body
showing my journey,
expressing my womanhood–
bold patterns of identity
from a feminine hand.
But there is part of me
that shouts don’t do it!
No man will touch you– (not this man but maybe the next). No job will have you– (not this job but maybe others).
So, perhaps, like that poem about
the old lady wearing green shoes
(or was it purple? or red?)
because she finally felt free
to do so — perhaps, like her, I’ll
finally cover myself in the beautiful
images of my life when I’m sixty;
when I don’t need to care about
the bank manager anymore, or
the boyfriend. Maybe then I can say:
I don’t have a photo album or
a Facebook page — don’t need it. It’s all on me. Part of me. Come.
she’s looking for pain
that pulsates in the darkest hour,
I am not on call, I cannot
rush to her aid, but I long
to be her fulfillment, however,
she says my search for happiness
I find myself in a riddle, mixed
within markers that bypass a selected
territory. I carry my weight in pain
on my shoulders, eager to take
a chance on this woman who
counts clouds backwards and chews cinnamon flavored gum.
little pet peeves of mine, swept
under the rug, avoided like
the elephant in the room.
she braces herself for sunlight that has been tapping on her eyelids for decades, begging for entry.
there is no safe passage.
she has boarded up her
fragile heart and I collect
salty tears from the edge of
her lids, cup them in my
soul, and pray for forgiveness.
I am not the bluest. I can only give her part-time sadness and this… this scares her.
I found myself working through a fit of disconnectedness on Wednesday, March 20, 2019, simply trying to get through the day to get to my first therapist appointment at 12:30 pm. Jernee spiked a fever the day before and we had been to the Vet’s office for what was supposed to be just her annual exam but turned into a big-to-do because the fever would not break, however, given one day to rest and be at home to romp about at will, she began to feel much better. Wednesday also found me in a meeting at my job for most of my scheduled half-day of work, so I felt all out of sorts with just a little bit more weight on my shoulders from Tuesday’s doggy shenanigans.
But, when I walked through the door of the psychiatric practice/mood treatment facility, a calming sense of peace came over me. I registered at the check-in desk by presenting my insurance card, recent lab work, and my Living Will and Testament. I paid my copay and before I could sit down, the lady who would be my therapist greeted me at the door to lead me on my journey and even said my name correctly. If I had a gold star in my pocket, she would have received it. We circled the hall and walked towards her office where she guided me to a medium-sized room, big enough for a comfortable couch, two even more comfortable chairs, and her desk space/work area.
She added to my increased level of comfort by asking me which type of lighting I preferred. I said to myself, “I am going to like her.” And, I did. I do. We began by breaking the ice, introducing ourselves, and then she said, “So, tell me what is going on,” and I let it rip. I started from when I noticed my mood changes and my decline in happiness and overall feeling of unworthiness and informed her that it all came to an intense spike a couple of weeks ago. As I was talking, I maintained eye contact, and so did she. She only broke my verbal stride to clarify what I was saying and to be sure she heard everything correctly. She took actual notes, reading back to me what was stated to her.
The entire session felt like a conversational hug — like something I had deep down inside, tucked in a corner that was afraid to come out, and at that moment, decided to present itself to be coddled. I felt a sense of genuine welcome and there was soft lighting in every nook of the office with a fragrance that smelled close to vanilla or lavender or a mixture of both in the air. I did not feel any pressure. Oddly enough, this space, the one we created, seemed very much like a space of peace.
Just like the soup that you see as the photo above, the space we created was my happy place. I felt warm, understood, and heard. I had a voice with her. She acknowledged my concern and addressed it, and advised me to continue to use the tools that I am using to increase my happiness and shift my mood when a dark cloud hovers, however, she was vocal about contacting her directly if I felt as though a volcanic eruption could occur. She is letting me set my schedule to meet with her and at this time, I feel as though, twice per month, will be good.
The next session, we will get deeper into other helpful tools that will assist me in getting back to a level of balance and to also learn about a few other things that can combat the molehill that I have possibly turned into a mountain simply because that is how it feels. There is a good chance that I may have some homework too, she actually said this, “Tre, I may give you some homework as time goes on.” Overall, my first impression of her? Genuine — is doing the job she is meant to do, and a great listener.
I think I am on my way… In time, at least, I hope so
Justice, where is your place in damned cities and states unsure of their constitutional rights?
Are you equipped to handle the damaging
tides rushing in and submerging people
under your watch?
Tasked with satisfying everyone
regarding everything, Justice, can you
handle your job?
Will you pass it down to your
offspring or shield them from the heartache
it will cause trying to manage
what cannot be?
Where is your listening ear
when the death tolls rise?
Justice, you used to be punctual.
Lately, you are beating around bushes
and lollygagging with teenagers unsure
of their place in this world.
I was certain that we paid you well.
I was sure that you had everything you needed.
Justice, how many more lives
must be taken for you to see
that the world is less humane
when you’re off duty?
How many more days will pass
without you willing to change and clean
up the messes you have made?
You used to be admirable,
a timeless happenstance that everyone
You used to be d e p e n d a b l e.
Now, Justice, you are fading from view
and the place you once held is
the place you hide from.
You are homeless,
Void of concern and care
Mitul Bhat is one of Medium’s newest users, but his words prove that he has been writing for a long time. Recently added to A Cornered Gurl, Mitul shared a poignant and emotional piece of poetry where he personifies a bullet in hopes of inspiring it to not kill him. Please make him feel welcome, beautiful people. And now, the piece in question: