A POEM AGAINST PRETTY BODIES
We all feel very bad about cutting our wrists
when we’re at an age where a certain element
of creativity is expected and maturity is required.
I do it like a little girl. I do it the wrong way on purpose.
Sometimes I do it so others can see it. My cockiness
is not a sign of my intelligence, it is an open Sanskrit
picture on a wall—maybe in ancient Egypt for the Emperor,
or maybe in a high-school bathroom for a guidance
counselor to decipher, or maybe in a bar full of
like-minded patrons who have learned suffering is
a fact and not an art. There is a difference. Nobody
should write poems about the horrible traumas
of their bodies. We all have bodies and don’t want
to bathe behind the screen door of your uncurtained
nostalgia. Do we know that we are not beautiful?
Do we know that we have terrible lumps of shortcomings
that are bumps of inaccuracies—they are little red
x’s for wrong and not kisses and we hide them come
valentine’s day, the holiday for hiders. I don’t
mean to splinter myself on my ego, great poets
have never made great poems from wrist cutting,
they are sufferers of war and observers of roses,
great poets don’t tattoo their whines in little chunks
of missing portions. This is not a poem you read
to your sister who has locked herself beneath a
thick black sweater. This is not a poem you read
to your boyfriend with the angry father, the boyfriend
who writes in uniambic rhymes. This is not the
kind of poem you find shelved in a library and
uncover as a relative to be shown like a game
of Pictionary. This is not that kind of poetry
and please don’t go looking for beauty because you won’t
find it here. Your thin-eyed incisions make a spectacle
of your narcissism, the warning call, that you are not
as beautiful as you thought you would be—before you
know how bodies are made and always disintegrating.
Julie Mannell is a Montreal-based writer of prose, poetry, and essays, originally from Fonthill, Ontario. Mannell currently writes for The Huffington Post, and her work has appeared in several journals, magazines, and textbooks. She is the recipient of the Lionel Shapiro Award for Excellency in Creative Writing and The Mona Adilman Poetry Prize. Mannell founded the McGill Creative Writing Society where she facilitated workshops and panels for three years. In 2012 Roseanne Barr gave Mannell the Vagenius Award.