I was heading home from Dayton, and i didn't want to hear bluegrass or classical music, and of course no station plays jazz. I'd had my fill of seventies rock, so I found a nice modern metal station to cruise too.

Now, I like heavy metal. It's good driving music, particularly when your car is so underpowered as my little work truck. Rock makes you want to push down on the loud pedal, and with my truck, I have to push down on it to go anywhere.

But I noticed something interesting. I grew up in the era of Black Sabbath (with Ozzy), Deep Purple, Alice Cooper and, of course Led Zeppelin. They rocked hard, and had their dark little songs, but sooner or later event he most progressive station would decide they were suffering from a Stevie Nicks deficit and she or Elton John would come on. So you'd get something nice and romantic. Even our protest songs had a hopeful tone.

Now as a 22 year old virgin I was as cynical as anyone about romance. Of course i wanted romance in my life, but love had never really touched me, and besides, that was for guys who were 'whipped' But at the end of the day I did still want to fall in love, and experience the sort of bliss that comes once per lifetime.

But today's rock has a very different ethos. Singers shout to the point where their voice breaks up. Sometimes that can be effective but one song really got my goat, because the song was sung from the point of view of a slacker who didn't want anyone reminding him that maybe, perhaps he ought to get a job and start living his life instead of trying to watch it from the outside. This is particularly poignant today because my friend Julie has a 20 year old daughter who thinks work is something for 'the little people. By which she means her mother. But as I went on listening the lyrics didn't get any happier. There was a cheery little narration of a date rape, another guy whining about how 'This house is not a home' because his partner gets pissed off when every day she comes home and finds him stoned. There wasn't one single pleasant or uplifting lyric the entire hour, and the tonal constructions seemed designed to imply blackness.

Now I'm not suggesting we go country or anything. Years ago i spent hours auditing a truck stop on 'Done Me Wrong Monday'. Five hours of pedal steel guitar crying in a minor key is more than enough to make anyone Norman Bates. In fact that day inspired me to write my first country song, based on the uplifting, true story of man who paid $4 for a prostitute, got VD and gave it to his wife. But when they aren't getting jingoistic country songs often celebrate the lives of ordinary people, and they recognize that doing a good job, loving your wife and raising good kids is noble enough work for anyone.

The relentless blackness left me wondering. Is this all we see or have to say? Where are the songs of hope and togetherness? Where are the love songs for this angry world?

the natural history of the body is known. hidden within its
own bones are the texts of its origins. there glitter the
jewels of time
. gold explosions of lite. deep & blooded.

it flows, the body. is a river that carries the seed from
the mountains. is its own seed & delta. growing, it is a
vine that strangles. there are no limits to it. flexible
& timeless, it washes away the edges.
not to be grown, it discovers itself. reaches & opens,
hungry. a mouth or hand. it gestures, a tree. it diminishes
lite, cuts bone into prismed fragments, twitches, a bird.

the body is a body of murder, a dance. it reads its own song.
it has no face. a woman, a man. a grave & a voice.

the mystery of the single eye.
I walk off of the streetcar and read white letters on a black sign.


Oh no, I am 30 minutes early. I go to a coffee shop in the hospital to kill time. There are no sick people there, just a bald man reading the paper.

At 10:55 I walk back towards the building. It is very run down and could use some cleaning. There are photography stores and pizza places all around it. Some people are standing outside who look very poor. They are chatting around a picnic table in their dirty coats and mitts. They must live in the shelter attached.

Inside the ceilings are extra-tall and I can imagine that this place was once impressive. It was built in the 1800s. There is a mix of old and young heads facing forward - but mostly old. They have an organ but it is not playing. Instead they are just using a piano.

We listen to some readings and sing some songs. I am surprised to remember some of them since it has been so many years since I have stepped into a place like this. My voice is rusty and I crack on the high notes. The minister says:

"A baby was born in the shelter 10 days ago to a mother who has nothing and no one. Please donate anything you can - like diapers or food."

We sing a little more and it is time to go home.

Outside the streets are lined with thousands of young Santa-fans chanting. It is his parade today.

This is my body. 200 billion red blood cells die daily, while 2 million are replaced every second. With fire and a drum, Shiva Nataraj treads upon our ignorance, dancing us in and out of existence. And they say alcoholics are always alcoholics, and they say cutters never scratch that itch, but I have sat here three long years waiting for that urge to return and all I want is orange juice and maybe a tattoo.

Shiva passed this way today,
hand-in-hand with a dark-haired girl
who is afraid of writing down her stories,
that they might warp, become too

permanent in a form not their own.

This is my body. 2mg of cyproterone acetate and 35 micrograms of ehtinylestradiol enter my body 21 days of every month, stealing my hormones and making the release of my invisible eggs impossible. If you think I’m crazy today you should have seen me two years ago, screaming and slamming doors and curling up in bed without a word. The woman on television tells of clitoral stimulation from a twittering butterfly on her vibrator. “Women don’t love their bodies enough.”

A girl in a blue bathrobe
fresh out of the shower
towels her hair
as she stands there
before the mirror.

Hands that washed




are hands

that now rip tangles
apart and will later
stir a pot of soup
to share with him.

A girl in tulle and cotton
sits in a school auditorium
listening to the women
proclaiming self-examination:
1 in 100,000 are afflicted.”

A girl once thirty pounds lighter,
thirty pounds closer to herself,
will slip on her one black bra
with the fuzzy bits stuck to the front.

Hands adjust the fit, fingers tapping
to the back to fasten the clip.
So formal with her only body,
these fingers fasten, wash, and fix,
but never simply touch.

This is my body. Every day I am created, sustained, and destroyed in a long process that slowly kills me. Inside each carriage are dozens of people whose actions are impossible to predict with 100% accuracy, but the train always travels in the same direction.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.