“The compassion of the undifferentiated body of no-cause comes burning forth”, or; “can we even let go of our out-breath?”

a young human,
in that torrential time
of wild wonder and daily expansion,
walks with confidence
through the toothless courtyard
of a Chicago Public Housing Authority
complex, square
on the South Side shoulder
of that broad and segmented city.
it is 1996 and so
the strutting youth is looking
both sharp and fly
in cobalt blue denim,
from collar to below knee cap.
long for shorts, but shorts
nonetheless.

i once worked in Vermont
with a Tibetan woman
at a slobbering store
of dented cans and methuselah
bottles of wine.
in Summer it was hot
and i would wear shorts,
exposing the lower legs that i
once hid no matter the weather,
ashamed by the bulging
disgust of my varicosity.
this Tibetan woman would
titter and chortle, “oh,
look at Master Zak
in his short pants!”.
i wondered if i was breaking
a cultural taboo
i knew nothing
about.

young human,
striding with purpose
in smooth skin and fresh folds
of blue denim, no job
no school no
responsibilities, but such
intent! such conviction
in the new utility of swinging
limbs! years pass
and we many of us are no longer
allowed the freedom to feel
so at home in our own bodies.
never would we walk
erect and without shame,
through the shade of our advancing
years, the weight
of taboo,
the expectations
of culture. we slouch
to make ourselves missable.
we shuffle and pause,
in no hurry to wedge
our tender bodies
back into their obligatory stances.
meaningless tasks meant to breed
in us submission born
of exhaustion.
an old man sits
in a wheel chair, his
white hair a sun
to the clouds in his eyes.
his eyes, rainstorms
in Mississippi, follow
3 year old child’s purposeful stride,
until the corner
of a brownstone
public housing building
swallows the young
human form.

our bodies are ours, briefly
ours. can we love
them? our bodies are
of this earth, can we love
the planet? my body is
mine, yes, but it is also
yours. can i love
myself with the same
intensity with which i desire
your body? i
am in no position
to preach, even
as i write this i
slouch silently, a question
mark at a temporary table,
no joyful noises uttered
unto our collective lord.
though it is through the solitude
of question that perhaps
the answer of completeness
may arise.

my body, its form holding
spirit. your body
incandescent, too. together,
the space between us,
a seed. a bloom.
a death. a rebirth.
the world spins, our
eyes are orbs.
the basins of this planet, many
of them are full of water,
water which slouches
and gathers and dresses
in cobalt blue and never stops
moving.

Published by Zak

an intertidal island in an ocean of impermanence.

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