sketch: Jane Eaton Hamilton
Lidia Yuknavitch, author of such esteemed books as “The Chronology of Water” and “The Small Backs of Children,” extends to we fortunate writers a talk about Corporeal Writing on You Tube. Just launched, Corporeal Writing will show us how to write out of our bodies. Body as library–body as the repository of memory, of metaphor, of what matters.
Corporeal: from the Latin “corpus.”
The first exercises, described here in this first video, are gratis. Have a listen!
Here’s my attempt, first at the 3 sentences, then at the longer exercise (though woefully short of 3 pages):
“Heart beats outside my chest. Blood shushing through veins. Birds click-clocking across asphalt, all things I can experience without moving from a chair.
I want you but I might as well try to rope air because you aren’t solid anywhere I touch. My hands go right through you, you with your scaffolding of hollow bones, you with wing stumps on your shoulder blades. Honey I see you on an orange mountain, the wind buffeting, and I know you’re going over, I know you’ll fly. Shear stress. I can slip down your body from your mop of tangerine hair to your Aeolian nipple to your zapped thatch to your bandaged knee to your sandals clamped around skinny feet. Honey you are 96 pounds of freedom. I know you’ll lift out of the soles of your shoes completely barefoot, with kisses hickeyed across your chest crying SOS SOS save me oh save me, even as you go, and I won’t have the wherewithal or even, maybe, as the sob loosens inside me, the willingness to try.
My heart’s been in eclipse, honey, and it’s moving out of earth’s shadow.
I step from the cave, safe, safe, dull into light, notice the bars caging me, the people on the other side of estrangement yaberling and throwing peanuts. I lie on my aorta and pump red. I’m squeezing through my 12 left ribs and blowing this container. The zoo’s quiet after hours, oyster concrete, turn left, turn right, I just ramble. I can roam, roam on these legs on these knees on these bursitic hips on this rocking pelvis, on this anginal chest. How to name a tree when you’ve never seen one? Say oak. Touch craggy bark that splits into ravines, runnels, rivulets. I can touch climbing. Sensations I’ve never felt, roughness, scrapes, feather of oak leaf, tick of acorn, higher, higher into full summer canopy, up where wind. Up where parachutes. Smells I couldn’t sense in the cave, smell of leaf, smell of leaf veins, smell of insects, shush of their subterranean life. Smell of birds, smell of night song, smell of peeps, smell of oviducts and just laid eggs and even hickeys, salt blood rising to air?
You flew off a mountain and landed here, these altitudinous branches your elevated catacomb, your reckless goodbye? You smell of marrow, of click clicking bones. Oh, Orange, no matter where my heart leads, ka-thump, ka-thump, it can take you along. Gather your osseous matter. Come close, honey. Closer still. Grab my pulmonary veins, baby, hang on tight.
Don’t ablate, sugar. We’re gonna beat.
Shouts go up. Loudspeaker. Animal awol! Catch the animal! Animal loose on the streets of Vancouver!
Blood is slippery.”