Life is not a straight line. It's a downpour of gifts, please – hold out your hand

Thank you for being here. I'm so glad you're here.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Instructions for a Body

This poem by Marty McConnell  (below) did something to me.  Kind of left me without words.  The minute her voice started, I got chills all over.  It's not just the words themselves and how she puts them together or the sacredness of the subject.  It's something in her voice... complete freedom to express?  Courage?  Conviction?  Vulnerability?  All of the above, maybe.  Anyway, it cracked me right open.  

And seeing as I have this big, silly bandage-thing on my right thumb and half my nail is no longer...this poem seems especially timely.  

By the way, all went very well yesterday.  Very well in the sense that the doctor & assistants were very nice & gentle and the numbing medication they injected into my thumb worked brilliantly.  I really didn't feel a thing during the actual procedure.  And, amazingly, I still don't feel any pain (even though I skipped my last dose of ibuprofen).  Shouldn't it hurt when you get half your nail removed?  Feels like a bit of a miracle to me.  This body is truly amazing.  

And when I got home yesterday evening, my beautiful girls & sweet husband pampered the heck out of me.  I got homemade turkey soup, a foot massage, my hair brushed, hot tea in bed (with just the right amount of sweetness), pillows for comfort, little snacky treats, big heart almost burst with gratitude.

Oh, one more thing.  Thank you for coming to this space & leaving your sweet comments & words of encouragement.  They mean more than you could know.  It is so very good to feel your love.

Instructions for a body 

praise the miracle body: the odd
and undeniable mechanics of hand,
hundred-boned foot, perfect stretch
of tendon

tell me there are no gods then,
no master plans for this anatomy
with its mobile and evident spark

someone says "children of light"
and another, "goddessfragment" and
another, "chosen" / a dozen makers,
myriad paths, one goal:

some scalpel, some chisel, some crazed
sentimental engineer giving rib, giving
eyelash, giving gut and thumb --

all mattering. all set down
in a going world, vulnerable
and divine

in the beginning was the word.

or before time there was a void
until a voice said "I" and was

or there was star and dust,
explosion and animal, mineral, us::

praise the veins that river these wrists
praise the prolapsed valve in a heart
praise the scars marking a gall bladder absent
praise the rasp and rattle of functioning lungs
praise the pre-arthritic ache of elbows
and ankles
praise the lifeline sectioning a palm
praise the photographic pads of fingertips
praise the vulnerable dip at the base of a throat
praise the muscles surfacing on an abdomen
praise these arms that carry babies
and anthologies
praise the leg hairs that sprout
and are shaved
praise the ass that refuses to shrink
or be hidden
praise the cunt that bleeds
and accepts, bleeds
and accepts
praise the prominent ridge
of nose
praise the strange convexity of ribcage
praise the single hair that insists on growing
from a right areola
praise the dent where the mole was clipped from the back
of a neck
praise these inner thighs brushing
praise these eyelashes that sometimes turn inward
praise these hips preparing to spread
into a grandmother’s skirt
praise the beauty of the freckle
on the first knuckle of a left little finger

we're gone / in a blizzard of seconds
love the body human
while we're here, a gift of minutes
on an evolving planet, a country
in flux / give thanks

what we take for granted, bone and dirt
and the million things that will kill us
someday, motion and the pursuit
of happiness / no guarantees / give thanks

for chaos theory, ecology, common sense that says
we are web. a planet in balance or out, the butterfly
in tokyo setting off thunderstorms in iowa,
tell me you don't matter to a universe that conspired
to give you such a tongue, such rhythm
or rhythmless hips, such opposable thumbs –
give thanks or go home a waste of spark

speak or let the maker take back your throat
march or let the creator rescind your feet
dream or let your god destroy your good and fertile mind

this is your warning / this
your birthright / do not let
this universe regret you.


  1. Wow. Seriously, that is all I can say. Wow. Okay, maybe, Jesus!

    Glad it went so well and your were adored by your family. I love hearing that it is all good and that people show up for you when you need them.



  2. Wow. Just wow. Thanks for sharing that!

  3. "all mattering"...
    oh. my. goodness.
    & that last stanza!
    &&& she mentions THUMB!
    ohhhh julia,
    i adore all you
    unearth & know.
    to u. xoxx

  4. Me too... Wow.

    P.S. Glad to hear about the thumb and the pampering.
    That is all xxxxxx

  5. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and this poem. I am thinking of you. Sending healing thoughts and love!

  6. julia,
    i am so glad everything went ok with your hand. how wonderful to come home to your sweet family and be pampered. lots of love to you

  7. Hi Julia,

    Glad the thumb is on the mend. The human body is an incredible thing - I've been studying anatomy and physiology lately for my level 3 fitness and I am in awe. I am also in awe of a certain Julia who me thinks is a very nice person.

    Love Nige

  8. Okay, I haven't listened to this yet, I will but I read your comment on Roots of She and knew this was for me too. I adore you. You had a nail removed? I have to keep reading :) xoxo


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♥ Julia