Poems, Uncategorized

Lifting the dead

When I switched from squats to deadlifts a few weeks ago, I have to admit I was a little sad to give away one metaphor–carrying myself out of a burning building–for that of another–lifting the dead. But I got over it pretty quick, metaphorically at least.

And I could say that my efforts are wrapped around notions of becoming a new, better, stronger person by disposing of that old, “dead” self. I could say that with every lift I’m fighting off the terrors of a bleak, immobile future. I could say that weight lifting allows me to lift away a yolk of self-doubt and emerge, 82.5 pounds later with superpower insight and unwavering badassness. But that’s not the case at all.

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You won’t believe me, but I do it for words.

Squat: to “thrust down with force,” (modern English) from the Old French, “esquatir” (to flatten) by way of Latin “cogere” (compel).  Crush, crouch in hiding.

The origin of “deadlift” apparently dates back to the Roman empire, to soldiers lifting the dead off the battlefield.  A literal origin, we could say.

Lift: from Old Norse “lypta” (“upper room, sky air”) and Middle English “luft” (“air, sky, heaven”).

And also this: Dead:  of water, “still, standing,” from Proto-Germanic.

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I do it because poetry is strong and words matter. So, this too:

Fitness

On a good day the bar is clear, cage
empty, uncluttered. On a good day
I have to stack my own black disks
and clip them tight. One solitary
bough waits for me to strap it onto
my back and climb the mountain
of steel and circumstance.

I brace, measure my grip, shoulders
strong and lithe, and command muscle
to contract. No chalk, no gloves, no talk,
no audience of men, no breath besides
this one. In the mirror I see her,
the one who devours concrete,
chase the past away with stinging arrows.

The Comet's Tail

Half dove

From Little Bound Books and Homebound Publications: The Comet’s Tail: A Memoir of No Memory.

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About the book:

I do not remember the tubes, the tests, or the icy cold of space. 
I do not remember losing six months of my life.

At age nineteen, Amy Nawrocki returned from her first year of college, scribbled a few notes in her journal, and took a terrifying summer trip. She remembers one night of disorientation, then nothing until Christmas, when awareness slowly restarts. The Comet’s Tail is the story of these missing months: the seizures and fever spikes, the deep nothing of coma, and the unexpected, dramatic recovery. Memory is recreated around EEG transcripts and doctors’ notes, family vigils and blurry Polaroids. From her unique perspective, Nawrocki investigates the connections between memory, trauma, and identity. She illuminates what it means to truly return to consciousness in this extraordinary memoir of illness, healing, and writing over the blank pages of our lives.

Here are a few lines from my first college journal (blog exclusive)–a college girl’s perception of herself, nine months before the galaxies would close (for a while):

I’m cold. I’m lonely. I’m an elephant in a supermarket. I need, I need, I need. I’m a very selfish person. I’m so inefficient. I can’t do anything. I think I’ll write a poem now. Drink lots of coffee, and be a night owl tonight and write a brilliant essay about Achilles, godlike swift runner. . . . . I’ll look for that wacky pigeon again — the half dove, what a shame to be half a dove.

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