The Woman in the Ordinary
The woman in the ordinary pudgy downcast girl
is crouching with eyes and muscles clenched.
Round and pebble smooth she effaces herself
under ripples of conversation and debate.
The woman in the block of ivory soap
has massive thighs that neigh,
great breasts that blare and strong arms that trumpet.
The woman of the golden fleece
laughs uproariously from the belly
inside the girl who imitates
a Christmas card virgin with glued hands,
who fishes for herself in other's eyes,
who stoops and creeps to make herself smaller.
In her bottled up is a woman peppery as curry,
a yam of a woman of butter and brass,
compounded of acid and sweet like a pineapple,
like a handgrenade set to explode,
like goldenrod ready to bloom.
I can't tell you how much I love this poem. It actually physically leapt off the page and grabbed me. It made me weep. It feels like me. I could have written it today. I wish I wrote it today. I wish I knew Marge Percy so I could call her and tell her how well she spoke to me. I know her ordinary woman; this woman who "fishes for herself in other's eyes"; this woman "who stoops and creeps and makes herself smaller"; "bottled up . . . like a handgrenade set to explode". THIS is how I've been feeling for a year, maybe even for my whole life. Like I've got so much more inside me, but I've spent so much time doubting myself and stuck. Believing what others may have told me or maybe what I told myself long ago. Believing I'm not good enough. Not smart enough. Not courageous enough. Not pretty enough. Just not enough. I've been waiting for life to take a hold and lead me, rather than getting up and leading my life where I want it to go. It's time.
Jenica had a great link in her post the other day. I finally sat down and listened to the whole nineteen minutes and it was amazing. So moving and thought-provoking. I think Elizabeth Gilbert actually looked at me and said, "Listen up!"
I'm listening. I'm a goldenrod ready to bloom.