there’s a poem by Louise Glück titled Purple Bathing Suit that i like very much. is it just me or did someone really dedicate that poem to me years back? memory as a landscape viewed without clear optics is hazy and fizzles at the edges.
i remember that poem because of the lines, “your back is my favorite part of you, /the part furthest away from your mouth”. yes, today’s entry is all about back. as in my back. not about writing, not about nostalgia, not about going back and enjoying life’s insipid reruns but about my stupid. irritating. back.
i have to devote a poem just for my back. it makes its presence known like a marching band on full performance mode outside my window at 8fuckingAM.
it is my life’s biggest wedgie. no kidding.
as much as i would like to abandon it, kick it away until it becomes only a whirring funnel of nothing, i can never leave it. it is my hobbes to my calvin, my tattoos to my skin.
the weather is unkind to people with weak spines. the cold pinpricks into flesh and wedges itself into sinews and bones. the pain is THERE, it is present. it is heavy and leaves the unlucky breathless. there are some who get intrigued by the kind of pain i feel. i always describe it as: makirot na mabigat as if a hollow block is resting on the small of my back.
countless times, i have cursed my back. i have imagined scenarios that show myself trading my back for a sheet of steel or a pair of training wheels, and the barter would cure me, would heal.
it is alive, too. the pain courses up and down as if testing the strength of the nubs of my spine, as if the pain has legs and it needs to exercise by climbing up and then going down, climbing up and then going down. often, i track its progress and i am surprised that it has reached the middle section of my back past the spire of my lighthouse tattoo.
back breaking! (look how things go, the outline of my body shows a scoliotic framework)
it seemed the pain is a crawling creature, and it is looking and searching for something. it has committed itself to staying. and i, silent house of its wandering, give it a reluctant go. like a fish, it flicks its tail and swims up, up, and up. i hold my chest and try to pin down my breath.
For your information 🙂 This is the poem, Purple Bathing Suit, from Louise Glück’s collection, Meadowlands.
Purple Bathing Suit by Louise Glück
I like watching you garden
with your back to me in your purple bathing suit:
your back is my favorite part of you,
the part furthest away from your mouth.
You might give some thought to that mouth.
Also to the way you weed, breaking
the grass off at ground level
when you should pull it by the roots.
How many times do I have to tell you
how the grass spreads, your little
pile notwithstanding, in a dark mass which
by smoothing over the surface you have finally
fully obscured. Watching you
stare into space in the tidy
rows of the vegetable garden, ostensibly
working hard while actually
doing the worst job possible, I think
you are a small irritating purple thing
and I would like to see you walk off the face of the earth
because you are all that’s wrong with my life
and I need you and I claim you.