embodying the unexpected

I always take away a sense of feeling not alone.- Soul Card from one of the writers

In every writing circle I have ever been a part of, you have to accept the potential for the unexpected. If you go in thinking it’s going to be one way or another way, you’re sunk. Sometimes the piece you were going to write doesn’t come, the piece you thought you hated becomes the most important thing you’ve ever said, and sometimes you write something that you didn’t know you thought, let alone decided to put to paper.

Writing inside is the same only more so. As a group, we roll with the slamming doors, the women talking in the hall on their way back from chow, the C.O.’s coming in to do a count on top of the usual surprises. It is a loud space but somehow we can always find the quiet together and let written bombshells land on the page.

This week’s theme was embodiment which means we were talking bodies. What we loved, feared, hated about our bodies and how we discuss our bodies. This is a heavy topic and while many women passed on sharing their work aloud, we had a really open, often hilarious discussion afterward. And there were somber parts too. What lies beneath the laughter is often tender: loss, grief, trauma, everything that is recorded on and in our bodies, felt through our skin.

Below is a piece written by a woman who said she had nothing, that she was struggling to write anything at all. She seemed to suggest that there was grief she held that she was unable to access or fully express. This is her generous record of that process.

Speak to me…
my dreams are shattered
walk with me
as if nothing mattered

Follow the road to where ever it takes you
striving to find
a belonging to place you

My words are no longer bringing
anything promising or new
just so many days of sadness I wish to decline

I can’t write
My words are lost within
I’m struggling, drowning slowly
Impossible to shake this undying pain deep inside of my soul
I see you look back when I look at you
your eyes have changes
there’s so much pain
the reflection is marred
with broken and empty images

Can’t wait for the day
that I long to be—away from
this place—I no longer see
I’ll run from any possibility
of ever returning    won’t look back

There aren’t memories to cherish
nor nothing to regret of loss
just leaving behind
a complete empty cold
shallow lonely place leaves nothing
to the imagination except
things you struggle to forget.

There are no words. I’m
struggling, you see—I’m lost
in the whirlwind of complete misery.

If you choose to remember
what you long to forget
So I’m not going to see what
reflection you portray
I’m running and running so far away.


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