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The words honors The Vibrant Form


By Ken Clepper Published 30 days ago 3 min read

I celebrate the electric body, especially when my vitality is drained. This body of mine has veins as fragile as the weather, sensitive to the turmoil of dust storms and hurricanes. When I'm anxious, my words stumble out like a rusty gate, a storm raging within me. The doctor warns that someday I may lose my footing, for my blood carries the weight of my mother's unyielding strength, like iron.

She held herself together, even when her knees could no longer bear the weight of mine. She taught me that our kneecaps are our prayer beds, and that we can walk further on our knees than on our feet. My heartbeat is like yours, a hatchet that can build or destroy. My words are a fire escape, raw and unbridled, for there is a burning passion within me.

When the flames rise, I hold my own shell to my ear, listening for the parade of thoughts. As a child, I was captivated by the bagpiper's skirt, a symbol of Scotland's rugged beauty. I longed to move there, to make my spine the spine of an unpublished book, with my faith as the first and last page. The day my rib cage became..."

"A girl clings to my every word, defying those who said I'm not allowed to love her. They tried to constrain me, to teach me I wasn't a boy, but I refused to be bound by their limitations. I rejected the wishes granted by the star on the sheriff's chest, instead seeking the infinite possibilities of the stars in the sky. I asked the sun about the Big Bang, and it whispered its pain, a hurt I carry on the tip of my tongue, blessing hearts whenever I can, so my family tree knows I remain rooted.

I'm learning slowly that arrival doesn't require departure; sometimes, my reflection still bears the weight of the shoe shine man's empty soles. On some days, my hands are occupied with the wrong tasks; on others, I call my arms wings, and my head floats among the clouds. It'll take a few more years to grasp that flying isn't about pushing away the ground, but knowing that safety isn't always secure. You can find a gun in every crowd, but I aim to do better.

This is my body, worn out and exhausted, a pipe that will never pass inspection. Yet, my lungs still breathe like a burning map, guiding me through the labyrinth of her hair, where I sometimes get lost behind the curtain of her tresses."

"Find me by the window, tracing the path to the trail of blood in the snow, the day I opened my veins. The doctor who stitched me up asked if I did it for attention, for the record. If you've ever sought attention, title this poem with your name. I'll search the city bridge every time you stand staring at the river, never wanting to find your body doing anything but loving what it loves. Love what you love, and say: 'This is my body, mine alone.'

This is my nervous system, my desires, my half-tamed addictions. My tongue is tied up like a ball of Christmas lights. If you put a star on top of my tree, make sure it's a star that fell, one that hit rock bottom like a tambourine. All these words are just stories leading to the staircase of...

"From the depths of my lungs, I sing out what hurts, and the echo responds with a gentle benediction: 'Bless your heart, bless your resilient knees, so wise and strong.' You are a vessel overflowing with life-giving rain, nurturing growth and abundance. Hallelujah to your weathered veins, hallelujah to the ache, the pull, the fall, and the pain. Hallelujah to the grace that resides within our bodies, in every cell, a testament to our shared humanity, a celebration of life itself."


About the Creator

Ken Clepper

Versatile wordsmith and history buff: poet, author, essayist, and enthusiast of the past."

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