hearts and hair … everywhere : an upper world journey

feeling still like my heart had been eaten, i decided i needed a heart to heart with my wisdom teacher (my deceased aunt shirley) in the upper world. this is, admittedly, the first time i have journeyed in a long while. up until the last week or more, things seemed smoother. things seemed repaired and ready again for use — my heart felt ready for something to grasp it but not grab it and that was happening.

dr. lou’s assignment being a creative writing exercise in storying pain led me back to this feeling of being detached … my mind from my body, my heart from me entirely. i was beginning to think maybe this was not the best exercise for me these days, but now i know it had to be now.

i am putting my ohio lonely chapbook on hold and writing a new one. one that needs to be written not only to fulfill an assignment in emotion and mood, but a heart retrieval. my heart being repossessed like a toyota, i will reclaim it fair and square.

this journey to the upper world tonight, took me to auntie’s cabin in the woods. the loft where she spent her last days of life, the loft that came to be called by my 15 year old mouth “the dead house.” i entered, as always through the back door which took me into the kitchen. there, i found 2 aunt shirleys … one young in short shorts and a white ruffled halter top leaning against the kitchen counter testing the balance of the cigarette between her lips. she looked at me bizarrely, even in a way to intimidate me while the elder shirley rolled out dumplings on the floured kitchen table in a denim smock splattered with paint and flour and handprints that looked like haunted and grappling leftover desperate hands taking her from all directions. she spoke to me with a tone of disappointment, pointing the rolling pin at me as if it were all now a threat. then as she grabbed scissors and began to haphazardly trim my bangs, she said i had not done my mending and that was why i was coming here now months later after believing i was suddenly and blindly ‘cured’ with happenstance happiness. i tried to say something and nothing came from my moving mouth. so i screamed and still nothing. then i listened. we didn’t always need words. after what felt like a long time, elder shirley hugged me and i felt it completely as if she were with me right then and i guess she was really. and then young shirley took her sassy eyes from the kitchen and retired to the couch just outside the kitchen propping her painted toenails on the coffeetable.

i knew i had to do this, write this, revisit things however unpleasant. the little bombs i hear in my ears these last couple of days, the words i will never forget another person saying to me. all of it. it is time. it may have never been time, but it is now.

eaten heart : a confession in poems

forthcoming …

painting by dorothea tanning

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Published in: on September 23, 2008 at 3:23 am  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Excellent post, Carrie. One of your best! Now heading out to the porch to read another one from Ward 81.

  2. Thanks, Benny Boo! It was one of the most profound shamanic experiences I have had. The trippiest was when I was in Saugatuck on a busy busy weekend with my parents and we couldn’t find a parking spot. Then the peacock guided us to one right in front of our favorite pub! Dad the skeptic was like: “Wow.” Mom was like: “See … I knew it was real.”

    Enjoying Ward Eighy-One? I have started some poems for the new book, Eaten Heart. The poem is about Don’s ear. I took a picture of it. Beautiful. I love ears … an ill-noticed part of the DNA in each of us.

    The lines I am working on: “Your ear, struggling in beauty within its fetal folds, / hospital corners saving me. / I put on my sweater, sigh / and realize pain was necessary to find you. / My garter belt convulsed for you in the dark last night. / I am lost again in your pillowtop.”

    Love ya, Benny!


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