Expansion

Gaining weight used to feel

dangerous

body parts blowing up, smothering familiarity

she wanted to be in control of everything and nothing could be controlled

so she took what she could instead …

her own flimsy pounds of flesh

the shrinking and expanding of time

denial and suppression, weezing like old men

enraptured by ballet dancer who starves herself to death

if she ignored her bodies longing to transform, she stayed small

and boys could circle her waist and say; you haven’t changed a bit! She could believe the lie and retrace time

could still be a slip of a girl, wearing her old clothes from when she was free of the demands of adulthood and blood, blood that did not rinse clear even when scrubbed

and this she did, for far too long, for fear of else

for what more was she? Not a mother, not since hurtling down the stairs, pushed by love, she saw her baby break into knots of placenta and gore

now not sure of whom she had become, in absenting herself it was easier, to dwell in the old shell and not

expand

comfort in knowing one’s exact circumfrance

and how it would feel to place a hand upon her flesh

a control without anything behind it, empty strawman, left without match to kindle, burn and diminish

she stayed the same whilst the rest of the world changed

grew wider, grew taller, grew inside and out

she was a fascimile of her damp past

it wasn’t until a sickening reduced her to almost empty

where she rattled and she clacked and she was hollow cheeked and pigeon chested

then her heart flickered on and off and she knew

the danger of staying still, was too great

she ate, though the taste was gone and appetite nil

outgrowing her own well known shape, she became something new

it was a frightening feeling to find what she would be

now that she had turned the corner and let the adult in

would she be like her mother with tiny little legs and arms?

or more of her father’s broad shoulders and freckled stomach

she was nobodies lover and nobodies mother

it hurt to cut herself out of the place she’d been so long, though long stale

and try to break out on her own, one unfamiliar piece at a time

in the bath she would gaze at her new body

bearing the marks of where she had visited

the underworld and the center of the sun

burning and drowning simultaneously

Her chest resembled the teets of a tiger, her thighs wide and strong

Readied to climb mountains, burst dams, forge expectancy

nothing else seemed important least of all

if she fitted into or fitted out of

the places she used to belong

this was a new version

she was going to gain more

than mere pounds and stone

she was going to quit starving to remain familiar

and learn the value of expansion

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27 thoughts on “Expansion

  1. Trying to stop the turning carousel, be stagnant, immutable is not living, not growing, learning, evolving.

    “There’ll be new dreams, maybe better dreams and plenty
    Before the last revolving year is through
    And the seasons they go round and round
    And the painted ponies go up and down
    We’re captive on the carousel of time
    We can’t return, we can only look behind
    From where we came
    And go round and round and round
    In the circle game” — Joni Mitchell – “Carousel”

  2. Thank you so much! I think many of us if we are honest (which so often we are not!) have felt this way, as we grow and are not sure what we are growing into. Maybe it’s not just something for anorexic 15 year old’s as I think it speaks to a bigger picture of what we become when we are no longer what we thought we were? Thank you so much for reading and liking this I am very grateful my new friend

  3. I bought her first album, Song To A Seagull, as a 7′ reel to reel tape at the PX in Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam in 1968 and it blew me away, and I’ve got most of them since. I haven’t seen an update on her health status recently, but some time ago her friend Judy Collins (<3) posted that she was doing better enough to paint if not perform. Maybe she is still writing. Its hard to picture her not writing if she can hold a pen or tap a keyboard.

  4. I have some of her LP’s from my parents and I listened to them a lot when I was younger along with Dori Previn, Joan Baez and other strong women who wrote poetry for music. I love music lyrics. My favorite writer of music is Kate Bush, although Tori Amos is a good modern version of her, and I really like a band recently called London Grammar. That’s amazing that you were listening to that in Vietnam. I forget so many American’s were in Vietnam, as I grew up in Europe where there was no draft or war at that time (although my country France was guilty of starting that war!). I cannot imagine what that must have been like. You have come a long way in many ways. Respect to you.

  5. I decided long ago to steal a line from the Grateful Dead as the motto of my life: “What a long, strange trip its been.”

    I think you would like Bonnie Koloc, another singer-song writer of my generation. There’s not a lot of her work up on You Tube, but some.

  6. There is a deeper reflection in this I find. You have also captured life and it’s many changing phases in the unique way which only you seem to be able to do.

  7. I have no comfort for the afflicted, but I offer love instead. This is a thing with which I have no ability to assuage or help — it makes me feel an endless ache and longing to heal a person and I can’t.

  8. This is so powerful. How many great pieces have I missed lately? 😉

    I never was anorexic, but… I can relate still. I can relate to the person becoming someone I don’t know, am scared of, and/or ashamed of.

    Thank you for finding the strength to put these facts into such beautiful, relatable words!
    XO

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