August 5, 2009

Day 9 Creative Words- Hands, Arms and Shoulders

Today I had a fight with Chris. To tell the truth I don’t even know what it was about, it hardly matters, it seems that most arguments are not really about what I think they are about anyway. I remember once fighting with him when he decided to put his own wool hat in the dryer. I was livid at the time, convinced it was about him making poor choices, it was not. I actually was upset at feeling trapped in a life that I felt I had little control over. Some weeks later I wrote the following poem at Tamalpa. When I read it aloud in class one of my classmates was convinced I was going to divorce Chris. This was not what my poem was trying to say. I was again using the creative writing process to sort out the ickyness that was preventing me from keeping perspective. The hat was his to shrink, the life was of my choosing, and it is ok to feel trapped sometimes, but it is a feeling not a reality. Being aware of feeling trapped was the first step towards figuring out what my needs were, and then meeting those needs. Chris and I am still together nearly a year and a half later. I still feel trapped sometimes, I suspect he does too, but we make the decision to stay together and take care of our needs. We are taking care of those needs at the moment in a way that many in our community are struggling to understand, and that is ok, I am patient and committed and meeting my needs is worth a little scrutiny.

“He is wrapped around my finger.
This is necessary, necessary for my survival.
I felt safe in his arms at first. Their strength is what made me consider him,
they were big, bulging, rippled,
forcing veins through skin.

But it was their weeping willow ways that I submitted to.
Long lines of tension that draped with no expectation.
I allowed myself to move in slowly,
They did not grasp at me, but instead danced on my shoulders and neck, caressing my hair.
Tendrils caressing tendrils.
I rested here.

Now though,
now it is time to leave.

I am aware that they are not as they once were,
these arms.
They have grown rigour mortis like,
stuck in their task with torment and desperation.
They have become stalactites,
our every moment together the deposits that make my prison.

I kick, bite and punch, breaking what binds me.
Destroying what has taken years to create....for better or for worse.

Bernice Raabis
Spring 2008”

When this poem was written we were working with the hands, arms, and shoulders in class, combining metaphors in everyday languaging which relate to the hands, arms and shoulders, with movement which originates from them. The exercise resulted in a poem which was heavy in metaphors relating to these body parts. I am using a similar method to come up with today's question which is, “What weight do you carry on your shoulders?”. This question lives inside 12 days journal 114


  1. Living with choices made and to make the best of them.
    To live up to my expectation of myself.

  2. Sometimes the prisons with the thickest walls are the ones of my own choosing. Sometimes the deepest darkest prisons are simply the result of my inability to open my eyes and see that light is all around me. Sometimes when I find myself fighting the current I realize that I am fighting the arms that have reached into the rushing waters to pull me out.

  3. Well that comment above wasn't Lily it was Chris.

  4. I carry the weight of being the one reasonably sane grown-up in my kids' lives, and having to live and parent in a way that will help them grow up to be reasonably sane themselves.