Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Draft Process: The Body Itself Become the Narrator of the Message

73º ~ the casters of fore predict a heating up toward the 90º mark, but still, a beautiful blanket of green surrounds my windows and the sunlight filters through

As predicted, Friends and Fans of the Kangaroo, I returned to the drafting desk this morning primed and already working based on the scribbles I'd made in the last few weeks in my journal.  A few days ago, the sickly speaker made an appearance (although my other scribblings are not from her and predict two new PROSE projects...ack...PROSE!).

The speaker gave me words of being "weaned from the machines" and went on to tell me about how she would sneak around in the wee hours of the morning while the night nurse dozed.  The sickly speaker takes great pleasure in entering the whitecoats' offices and messing around.  I think there will be several poems that follow this line.  For now, I had to rearrange a bit from what I scribbled, as she had some extra background to give me before we got to the breaking and entering.

The draft begins:

In the days of my healing, they sent a mystic in,
and I was weaned from the machines one needle

at a time. ...

image from Wikimedia Commons, click for link
It came out as eleven couplets of roughly this line length.  That opening phrase surfaced as I remembered that I'd lost writing time in March/April and needed to backfill to the days of her healing after the transfusion/transplant procedure.  The mystics have solidified into any personnel who are not regular nurses or whitecoats that she sees regularly.  As a group, they treat her with indifference, as she is just one more patient in their normal work routine, but to her, they are a chance at connection with the outside world.  Another interesting dynamic in the health care industrial complex I'm exploring. 

For the title, I popped open the latest issue of Orion magazine, one of my all-time favorites.  I opened to "Sand County, the Sequel" by Sandra Steingraber and my eyes fell instantly on this line: "To narrate the message... ."  In the second half of the poem, after the sickly speaker is free of the machines 24/7, she begins her creeping about at night and she leaves "offerings" of herself in the "nearest whitecoat's den."  These are bits of skin and hair or something torn from her gown.  This is the room in which she prays about her future health (a new twist in the series).  I hooked on "narrate the message" as a way of saying prayer and added more to the phrase to fall in line with the heavy titles most of the other poems have.  Thus, "The Body Itself Becomes the Narrator of the Message" as the speaker leaves bits of herself in offering of prayer for health.


Kathleen said...

Wooo, fascinating. And glad to see Sandra Steingraber in there, too!

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks, Kathleen. I'm looking forward to reading that issue of Orion!

Tawnysha Greene said...

"Weaned from the machines"...what an awesome line! Can't wait to read this collection!

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks, Tawnysha. That's definitely the spark line for this poem.