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I just tried an exercise in “Keeping the Creation Alive” that I recommend without reservation. After a somewhat trying evening, I stepped outside on the patio and stood in the dark. It’s a cool, low-slung sky tonight, and the creek is still running its highest. The rush brings a wind, and I stood with one side of my face upwind and let the water and air sweep out all unnecessary and grody thoughts. For the record, grody is my all time favorite words. Out with the rather trying shopping trip to buy thrift store summer dresses for my fashonista daughter, and one for my grumpiest progeny too, who cried and whined the entire time, the one where I stood in front to the horrific dressing room lights and fell victim to the dark monster of my own critical eye, the stomach-churning receipt at the grocery store accompanied by more toddler tears, out with the stupid driving home mood swing, the interruption of the bedtime routine with an emergency dog washing, because he had rolled in what could only’ve been a pile of Brontosaurus shit, and with the entire container of goldfish food spilled on the carpet in the girls’ room during story time, gone with the fact that I can never find the right stuffed animal at the right time, gone with the teacher doubt, the one niggling feeling that what I thought I taught and what I actually did do not match up, gone with web-md, and the out, dash it all, with forgetting to record the Clippers’ game.

It was a relief. Somehow, though, in describing the exercise, I’ve just invited all that grody blech back in momentarily. I’ll have to poem it out, somehow. I might need to step back into the nature again. In this I am sharply aware that so many on the planet do not have water to hear, and vow to do more to fight that injustice. Some days everything I think and feel makes me feel like an asshole. Today is one of them. The worst was the body hate. Really thought I was getting better at that. I’m gonna try to poem it.

Body Hate

What’s the use of hating the thing that gives us up in the end? After teaching Baudrillard, don’t you feel like a shithead, for falling prey to the image?

Turn up those lights, Mama. I want to relish your cellulite.

Here is where you stretched in red to house your babies. Here are your scars in angry relief, your bruises from hustling in the dark toward little voices. Here are your imperfect nipples that fed perfect beings and that part of your arm that waves when your hand is done, saying welcome. Welcome.

Look, look, dammit, for once or twice in your life, look at that whole face, see the cartography of your deep care and cavernous worry, see that moonscape in pigment that an airbrush would kill,

Learn to hate something else and love these toes.

Even these toes. Why? Because these toes are strong. Ugly, but strong, which is the best kind of strength.

Do you suspect that if you could see your back, it would be your best side? Well, from the waist up, you say? Face your behind. Face it in the glare.

This is where you sit, to rock babies, to rest and work, and those butts in screens have never been any version of the Real.

That dress will cling where it will. We are magnificent.

Girl, take that dress and go to the beach. Put those ugly toes in the ocean and dance in the waves and ignore those California friends of his. They have more time and money than you, and their bodies are magazine ads.

At least yours is a good read. At least you are a novel.

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I didn’t mean to get all judgy on my HP’s friends. But, we are visiting at the end of summer, and they always make me insecure, even though I know they have their own insecurities. Asshole Day, where everything makes me feel like one, that’s today, I’m pretty sure. Nonetheless, I feel pretty good about this one, because it is about as honest as it gets. Happy Thursday, poem peeps. Love you.

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