Carved (A Braided Essay)

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Michelangelo, David, detail

I wrote a poem titled “Carved” and for my nonfiction class, haphazardly molded it with bits and pieces of my own narrative. Hope you enjoy.

Old blood seeps out of the gash

and I think about what Michelangelo would say

if he were here with me.

Everyone hates their body.

He wouldn’t want to paint me, number one,

because I’m not a man, and number two,

because I’m not defined, rippled, taut.

Everyone hates themselves, to some degree.

As my cat purrs and kneads the folds

of my skin I know he doesn’t mind my soft parts,

the extra pillows.

I hate those parts. The physical parts. The parts that should mean the least but end up meaning the most.

Michelangelo would hammer me to bits

and carve me out of new marble, form my arms

into thick tree branches that refuse to sway

I want to destroy myself. The leftovers aren’t there for nothing. My body is not a temple, it’s an empty alleyway to piss in, a cheap house desecrated by flames and vandalism.

in even the heaviest winds.

He would chip away the excess, chisel a delicate

nose and round pupils.

My organs are useless. My skin is too beaten up. My teeth are falling out of my skull as I speak.

The calves would be sturdy, the stomach,

smooth, and he would ignore the fact that I am

a cousin of the apes.

Things are easier when someone else molds you. I’m not a sculptor. I shouldn’t have been given the job of creating myself.

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