LONG ISLAND/NYC, NY, USA
THE BODY IN QUESTION
Glorified at the hands
Of artists, feasted upon by poets,
Its praises sung by music-makers.
Dissected by physicians,
Its machinery exposed in
In repose, its beauty drunk
In stillness. Desire awakened
In languor, the flesh animated,
Transported in slow motion
To bliss. From the bud of infancy
To maternal bloom. Pushing its limits
To perform daring feats. Body painted,
Perfumed, jeweled, and tattooed.
Wet skin in wet clothes. The veiled body
Kept in the dark. Body married
To Christ. Paraded on stage, dressed up
Or stripped down. Sold and humbled
Into submission. Bodies in whose soil
Is grown cotton, cane, corn, and tobacco
To make nations rich. Those bodies still
Slogging on, impoverished. Bodies from
Which coal is mined and gold is extracted.
Body rewarded, eroding with disease.
Migrating bodies washed ashore.
The body detached, its primal urges
Mastered by yogis; its potential sunk
In self-indulgence. Body behind bars.
In solitary. Body effaced in suicide. Body
Stopping bullets, blown to cinders by bombs.
In genocide, counted in numbers.
Body in pain, suffering blows, coming
To understand its frailty. Eventually
Betrayed by its own failure, losing muscle,
Bone, attaining stasis, shutting down.
The body home at last, laid out cold.
Interview with Saleem
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