Archive for May, 2011

Scars and Hearts

Posted: May 18, 2011 by Zachary in May 2011

Nervously, the doctor recommended an ointment that would help reduce the scarring.  I had to smile, and I politely declined the information.

Some people call their bodies a canvas, a place for piercings and body art.
Others, call it a church.  A sacred frame of reverence and importance.  The art of the divine.
I even knew a girl that called hers an amusement park.  She always promised a good ride.

Mine is a graveyard.  Simple lines of contorted flesh the tombstones of buried hearts and broken body parts.

With my shirt pulled up, I had lay in relative comfort when he started.  He wasn’t quite satisfied with his first stitch, so he asked my permission to do it over.  I didn’t mind.  My skin was numb.  The cold tugging at my flesh was nothing more than a detached reminder of mortality.  I’d felt worse.

Unexpectedly, the blood got significantly in the way for the second and third attempts.  Twice the nurse interrupted, to check on his progress.  The look on her face bespoke the mounting complaints she had to politely fend off out front.  People were now lined up – his walk-in clinic backlog of sick and needy increased with his every mistake, adding pressure to the already difficult stitching.  I heard him sigh.  He was the only doctor on duty.  With my eyes closed, I could feel the pull and stretch of his workings increase in speed.

In the end, he botched the job.  What was supposed to be a minor mole removal, would instead heal to look like a thick knife gouge.  I could see that he was torn between feeling bad about the work and running to help relieve the suffering horde that waited down the hall.

I waved him on.  He had seen only a tiny part of a body that had nothing to lose by adding another blemish.  Another addition to an otherwise disfigured body.

On the other side of my waist, hidden by my shirt, an ancient scar wraps around my rib cage.  A shawl of an olde weave, it is one of my eldest.  I have never not known it to be there crawling across the speed bumps of my side.  It ends at the furthest reach of my fingertips, slightly below my shoulder-blade.  A piece of my own suffering that I am at pains to be familiar with – so far out of time and so far out of sight.  It is at an awkward angle, even for mirrors.

Sometimes, I don’t even recognize it anymore.

Down the center my chest is a mausoleum of fixed wounds.  This is the line that everyone sees, that identifies me as once-broken.  Though few understand the depth of the loss.  From collarbone to upper stomach, a line denoting the entrance and exit into a heart of many deficiencies.  The line is ordained at its tip with a bright red sensitivity, and is opened to the public every 10-15 years for retrofit and the benefit of new med-students.

The organ pumps regularly now, as it was originally intended.   You can mend a muscle simply enough.  The damage to the incorporeal not so.  If only cow-skinned stitch-work could repair the injury of betrayal and emptiness.  But it can’t.  Instead, surgeons repaired a carcass.  Who can know that a scar is merely a cradle for the dead?

A patchwork soul is a marvel, but never a proper substitute.  This is not me.

Below that, two small dots.  Meaningless medals of honour, they represent a byproduct.  A temporary requirement to surgery, with the cost of a permanent and specific memory; a sensation that should not be remembered.

Further below, to my upper left thigh, two scars sit atop each other.  The occasional pain in my lower abdomen a reminder of my own cowardice and ignorance.  The lengths that we will go to forget ourselves is unparalleled.  Here one scar sits from a repair that I long neglected, and refused to admit to myself until the damage became too great.  And on top of that, another, to aid in a previous surgery.  They overlap because I failed to know myself.  They overlap because I accidentally misinformed the doctors of the previous scar.

Because I didn’t know myself.

There is a dull ache there, when I bring my mind to it.  A lopsided phantom pain.  And real one when I overuse the muscles where the scar-tissue resides.  Even clothes do not proffer an escape from that reality.  That is what these 2 scars give to me – no great hidden wounds, merely a reminder that my wounds cannot be hidden.

Clothes do not maketh the man.

The vanity of skin’s perfection does not apply to me.  It never will.  I was born into a body that required an invasion merely to experience existence.  There will never be “normal” for me, nor a need to conform to a magazine image.  There will never be even a hope of conforming to it – so far removed from possible is it for me.

My back is crooked, my spine twists unnaturally.  Curved to reflect the nature of my foundation.  What once stood tall has warped over time, under the pressures of growth and experience.  A reflection of my morality and will throughout the years.  The doctors politely lie, saying that it is as good as it once was, and that such contortions do no damage.  But we all fear the specter of a hunchback in our futures.  The shadow of another grave looms here too.  Eventually the problem will be fixed, another part of me repaired.  Killed.  With only a scar to show for it.

A refurbished house provides a strange kind of home.  You live amongst things that are not yours, yet you must accommodate.  Like cells attempt to reject foreign bodies, your soul wants to reject this outside of reality.  But it can’t.  These fixes are for the best.  And they are for you.  They provide a roof over your head, and fix the leaks.  How could you not accept them?  And so you live.  A Frankenstein of body that hides a Jekyll and Hyde of mind.

This isn’t me.  This is what is left.



Posted: May 4, 2011 by Zachary in May 2011

“And gently, playfully, reverently, his fingertips traced her subtle curve.”

It’s like that.

How many times a day do people touch, how much more random hook-ups and raw lust-fucks.  To them, a touch is as meaningless as the revolution of a wheel – a motion to be repeated at increasing velocity until the eventual but certain destination is reached using the vehicle of their physical form.  And then, when they are at rest, that motion is abandoned and forgotten.  Bodies parked in the garage of a connection that neither soul will stay in for more than a night.  Check out time is 11am.  Complimentary breakfast; it’s all you can eat.

But it is not like that.  How many times we can say it in a day.  We can say it as many ways as we can write it.  His hands on her hips.  Her foot grazing his thigh.  His warm embrace.  Her fingers tickling his neck.  But passing through so quickly, its inherent value becomes lost.  And it was not about transient value – a value gained in the enjoyment of getting from Point A to Point B.  That is a beautiful thing, but its place was not here.

Here, eye contact does not seek to arouse.  No daring glares nor teasing glances.  Voice does not seek to seduce with sultry soliloquies of sex or guttural echoes of pleasure.  The senses do not seek to influence.  They merely seek to experience inherent joy.  Not to cause, but to enjoy effect.  They seek to discover it and explore it, treading lightly.

When it is found, the world and all its so called destinations fade.  What was once colour becomes a dull shade of grey.  For once the wheels are shown at a speed that is appreciable, their revolution is revealed.  And their destination is rendered unimportant.  The drive is satisfaction.

Subtle curves become sacred.  What was once used as a hotel is revealed as a church.  And so, original sin is understood, mourned and all at once forgiven.  Thus is the power and the glory.  Fingers become pilgrims searching for hidden scars that are written on the body – hidden monuments to importance.  For they become capable of feeling something much bigger than them – something much more than flesh and blood tingling their appreciative nerves endings.  They know that that skin transcends time and space, having journeyed and journeying, and holds more secrets than can ever possibly be known.  But they are all knowable.  And so, gently, playfully and reverently, they journey.  Purpose driven life becomes life driven purpose.