Survival

For all the survivors I know

For those I don't

For Professor Anita Hill

For Dr. Christine Blasey Ford

and for myself.

 

**

 

Survival

survival

is a newness

 

I'm done with survival

 

survival

is a liar

 

survival is a split word

of spit and truth

 

survival is a longing

and a death wish

and a knife

 

I cannot survive : I already have.

 

Survival lives in daily practice

could I open the survival,

render its splitting,

make it whole?

 

Transformation

survival means

to live beyond

 

a searing liberation

in the freedom it ascribes

and that sear of liberation

is the mark of success

 

We know we’ve survived

when we become survivors

 

something burns and leaves

 

this word of transformation

 

nothing quite like it

 

Weight

survival means

to be in the body

to sit in the chair

and absorb the weight

I attend to the physical laws

taking shape in my belly

 

it is a marvel to be this heavy

 

fat girl’s discomfort as resistant emanation

a routine pulse of mundane warning

lights that flag:  go back, go forward

 

There's constant dislocation:  my back

moves and I don't feel the muscle

my body is not so much walking

as negotiating movement

It walks, it places its  flesh not mine

 

Dislocation

“their migration is a fight for life” (Winged Migration)

 

Sometimes survival crowds in when I'm in a meeting and my head is split to some other

where.  

 

I'm rendered to another location, anonymous, misplaced.  What is that location? When I split myself to see something different than the trauma I am instructed to Direct today?  I daily come back from a distance, bumpy landing. With “I couldn't--” “sorry I missed” “Oh I had to” “Yikes, I apologize”--

 

--and who do I take from while I'm away?  

 

When survival's at stake, all distance is theft

 

in the center of my back, behind the heart,

where my lover's palm rests, is the center of a tension

or a wound I created

when I moved to something different;

my mind migrated.

 

Shadow

so, this, too:

less sympathy

survival as a form

as denial and a salary

 

They dance around it, the cunt:  

let's say this but

not so often that

it can't be unspoken

 

They shake the silence

to test the symptom of patriarchy

So I render a split between thought

and word, a disjoined communion

of safety, not satiety, but

in seeking protection

I escalate violence.

 

What I'm saying is I'm insincere.

I haven't survived.

My words are hiding.

My whiteness glows.

I render this split

between word and fact

That's what I'm doing—survival displayed

as a truth of some Thing for the sake of the Whole.

 

Unpacking the depth

means the split gets stitched

together at last, together again

so that the split is a loop, one thread seen as two

do I dangle it to a single length

or wind them in upon each other?

word and fact, self and body

ready to be bound together

we are already,

but if I show my whole,

I may not survive.

I already have.

 

Depth

In truth

my whole body rests inside my vagina

the pool of my spine guttered inside

it extends on dimensions, by force of my thoughts

and moves on its own

like a guest or an anger

in the depth of my cunt

the world whispering back

a betrayer and saint

all the same in my cunt

 

There are also split larvae

stress hatches in my neck

wiggling out from the cracks in my ethics

with unleavened distress,

they pop out behind speech,

they draft a thought that could be wrapped

around the throat in diction/protection.

 

I cannot survive.

I have survived.

 

I cannot survive : I already have.