posted in <<ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT > Word

saying no

by Sweigh Emily Spilkin

Every once in a while
when I’m not busy trying to adapt—
i.e. find an air filter that won’t make me sick
scrub the dryer with vinegar to get the Bounce out
open the windows when I burn something
then close the windows when
the lawn men come, maskless, to hold back the weeds—

or when I’m not busy caring for myself—
the daily hikes saunas supplements pills research
kinesiology doctors cranial work yoga masks
organic meat buck up positive thinking transmuting
dark energy toxins into light bone breathing chi
kung gratitude glutenless processless living without just be—

I allow myself to imagine a world
without toxic chemicals where we’d let the grass go to seed
let the sun dry our clothes use baking soda to wash
wear light colors the way the fibers were grown
go slow breathe a world
where I could walk down the “street”
without feeling sick

A world imbued with wildness wool cotton wood
linseed oil rock mud clay flesh radiance simple

But this this is the world I choose to live in
this complicated multi-syllabic multi-celled multi-
compounded multifarious world.

Or did I choose to come here to change it?

When I have more energy I think.
Right now it’s all I can do:

Dr. Brunschwig’s catnip mosquito repellant
Dr. Bronner’s organic glycerin soap
Aubrey’s Titania Maker’s Diet approved sunblock
Alleraire filter from Canada where they’ve banned ozone
Ozone but for the car only and only when I’m not in it
Cellophane bags from cellulose plant fibers so the
refrigerator rays don’t zap my food

Flat screen 0 emf emissions so the computer rays don’t zap me
carpets out bamboo in glueless caulkless—

This heart-breaking isolating disease
canaries in a mineshaft no one should have gone down in the first place
black dust turning our yellow feathers lung alveoli fat cells
black with mercury and dust

have you tried the new latex bed it’s

No. I can’t go thank you. No the chlorine. No
Would you mind changing your clothes? Would you mind taking a shower?
No, it doesn’t work for me. No, thanks anyways, they just sprayed pesticides. No,
it’s a new construction. No, I’m too overloaded. No, I just ate something
I shouldn’t have, better get home. No.

Right when I was learning how to say yes
to pleasure to community to feet on the earth
along came no again.
No. A lonely little word.

Pleasure every once in a while I remember you
in the midst of sickness.
Am I sick?

Out in the middle of
La Garrita wilderness
between Gunnison and Saguache
up little creek trail valley
beneath half moon salt skin pass
behind Mt.Wheeler

and the two magical volcanic towers

one male and one female
monolith and moon cave
and high alpine grasses and ravens
and bristlecone pine and badger crouched low
hunting picas in the scree
and bristly wind and snow patches in August and

hoof prints and elk grazing and owl
flying lowblack shadow hovering
against 10pm studded constellation sky—

I’m fine.

I’m more than fine
I’m alive.

The wind itself
blowing through my veins

the icy river my blood

Remind meI say to him on our last morning in
remind me that at one time I felt this good
and I go back one foot in front of the other

and I forget.

Too busy trying to live in this world
with its harsh need to change me

And why so I can


Barely any way to “make a living”
which I swore I never wanted to do anyway
that day in the Arizona desert when I lamented to the saguaro
and it lamented back

So what now? This turning towards the darkness
plunging into the old caves?

20% of the people who get this disease kill themselvesshe tells me
because they can’t fit into this crazy
soulless earth poisoningfreedom denying world
we’ve dreamt up for ourselves.

and who’s the we?
did I do this?
do I keep doing this?

and how do I stop?

No says my liver. No, lungs. Cerebral cortex. Hypothalamus.
Kidneys. Adrenals. Thyroid. Parathyroid. No. The tissue of the
same stuff the same cells soils dustsparticles space
matter as this earth we live on/in.

In systems theory, there’s always some part of the system,
a “weak link”the early warningin a group always some member
of the circlethe scapegoat the creative change agent the rebel.

part of his heart just decide to beat faster
to do something different
some rebel cells.

Who’s elected to create change?

It’s not me it’s my
peptides proteins fluids.

We are all that part of the system.

And when the body no longer gives you a choice?

What does it mean to be well

Well. I um, well.
in a sick world?
The only true choice is to listen.

© Sweigh Emily Spilkin 2006

Sweigh Emily SpilkinSweigh Emily Spilkin, MFA is a poet, healer, and guide. Sweigh lives in a sleepy corner of Boulder, CO where she wanders through the foothills, teaches poetry, practices chi kung energy healing, and on a good day, writes. Sweigh loves and is terrified of the Mystery. Over the last three years, a journey with chronic illness has taught her lessons she never wanted to learn, and she is grateful. Sweigh received her MFA in poetry from Naropa University in 2000.

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posted by earthwalker on October 3, 2006 | tags: , ,

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