Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Day 3: Collective Heart Compost

Day 3 of my 30 day poetry challenge...

Collective Heart Compost

My therapist tells me I need to feel anger.
Reminds me twice every session that my feelings can take up space
has to tell me once a week that I am worthy
give me homework so I can remember
for the 7 days in-between,
she has to tell me
that just because they said so
it doesn't mean I'm broken,
she tells me
that trauma lives in your body because it has to -
because it's the best way you figured out to survive,
she reminds me
that I have to see it before it swallows me from the inside out
asks me over and over to notice the feelings
to name the feelings
to pay attention to the fucking feelings and I

I tell her I know the answer
before she's asked the question.
I raise my hand
before I know the topic,
I know the right response
to anything she'll ask me,
I make her work
for every penny of our 50 minutes,
drive home with my belly churning on all the things I did not say
breath clenched with all the things I could not feel,
tell myself
I'll try feeling those emotions

When I was in 5th grade, my long-time bully shut my fingers in the door.
By then, I knew better than to tell.
I knew better than to make a sound.
When I was in 5th grade
that same girl bullied my 3rd grade sister.
That was the first time I remember feeling
a hot ball of rage rise from my stomach to my throat
I threatened her
in the deadliest voice I could manage
seethed righteous anger through every inch of my 10-year-old frame
got in her face
made grandiose threats
and didn't give a damn.

Some days
it feels like my skin is nothing more
than a hopeful tourniquet
tying to hold my self together.
This body
is nothing more than a laundry basket
a compost pile
a recycling bin
I throw in the used,
and the ugly,
tell myself I only need to wait
till the trash gets picked up on Tuesday,
most days
I wonder what I bring to this life.

We all know
that everybody's got shit, 
and we all know
that some shit is shittier than others,
and I know
that the only right thing I can do is channel 
the love and righteous anger of 10-year-old me,
give it space to live here inside my skin
breathe in the panic and listen
to the voices of our collective hearts
as they say,
most days all anyone has got is shit, and
we've got a high quality compost pile
to make the best things grow,
and they say,
where do you think you came from
if not from the nutrients of your ancestors?
and they say,
the garden of our souls cries out for compost
and we're waiting
for you to add your shit 
to the pile.