The Progress – Day One, Poem One

What I used to do when I wrote from prompts or attempted to write a new form was to put down my process.  I did this because I really wish that famous poets had this kind of information to go with their poems sometimes.

Today I have been working on the first of my 30/30 poems and let me tell you it has been rough. What I did today was to type out my thoughts on the prompt and my mental process in trying to figure out where to even start. I think I am going to do this for all the poems this month since I am not posting the poems this year. This is from my notes on the poem I just finished…

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PROMPT ONE: If your body is a church, what memory is its god?

I could have SWORE that I had already started this one when Rachel posted it on Facebook weeks ago, but I can’t find the file. SO… starting over… here are my notes as I try to find the god of the church of my body…

What is the holiest? Most revered? What brings the most worship? To what do I bow in reverence – not for fire and brimstone, but the way that makes me raise hands and cry tears of overcome joy? Is it the most cherished or merely the most powerful? The negative fills my mind a lot. But those are demons, not gods. What is my god memory?

I picture a grand cathedral of European historic proportions. I imagine walking from the grand doors at the entrance, through the foyer, down the aisle touching the backs of each pew as I go. The interior is shadowed in the light from the giant stained glass windows. I am here searching for a god, for THE God. I look towards the alter as I walk but it is shaded and unclear. What reigns here? How shall I pray?

I think I am inside my chest. The tall arches are the inside of my ribs. I am walking from my bowels upwards to my throat. The church is empty. It is beautifully ornate and guilded, but I am the only soul there. It is rich reds and purples and blues and muted whites. Silk and velvet sashes and garlands and festoons hang everywhere. I don’t want to see a crucifix behind the pulpit, but that is what my mind puts there. I see to the sides halls and other rooms. They are my arms and legs. I still can’t see the god of this church body.

When I think of my actual body and what it most seems to worship, the first thing I think of is physical pleasure, sensual touch and sexual ecstasy. Is that memory the god of the church of my body? My mind is not cooperating right now to give me something that I feel like I can work with. I want an actual memory. A moment in time. Something concrete.

So I continue towards the alter in this church. I move closer to the head. What is beyond the veil? Who is the highest of the priests? Is there a sacrifice? Or is it the holiest of Holies? I still can’t see clearly.

There is a saying that the body is a temple, the ultimate meaning of which is that it should be treated with respect. The religious aspect of this saying is that it is where the Holy Spirit of God dwells, implying that we are conduits and homes of said Holiness. I am torn between the holy and the carnal. Part of me wants to delve into the memory (memories) of the pleasures of the flesh, and the another idea is to deal with the holiness of the body itself (even though that is not exactly what the prompt calls for).

I want to reach beyond the obvious darkness and call the light into this edifice. I want to know what moves me. Pressing on…

 

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What is your process when you write? Is there anything that is your standard “go-to” method? Do you use prompts or just write from your own thoughts? I would love to hear your take on this in the comments!

Thanks for reading! ^_^

P.S.
I plan on doing the annual chapbook as a perfect bound book and all profits will be divided evenly between Rachel McKibbens’ Outlast Project and the local women’s shelter.  If you would like to pre-order this book, you can do so for $15 via PayPal to nmnance@gmail.com and please be sure to include your shipping address. THANK YOU!

 

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