The Body Politic
by Rita Anderson
Bury me in a place where it rains excessively,
every day like clockwork, my mirrored bed
a decorative coffin. I like my towns like
I like my men, a little messy and perpetually
out of sorts. Comfort is found in the shade
of what I have created and so I am surrounded
by self, cast into history in massacred likeness,
but bad dreams still come like hard times, regularly.
Gracias de Dios! Es tiempo. Bebe el vino?
a constant in the everchanging. One must
feed the bones and banana leaves, monstrous
loss made manifest. Yes, he strays (my sister,
model after model after model: it used to upset
me until I saw the pattern) but. Whether
it is the jungle, the operating room, or the studio,
flesh falls away even—perhaps especially—perfect
flesh and after the fire, the newness, the lust, he
always comes home. Thus, I have made my bed,
painted what I had on hand with blood for oil,
tissue as canvas. I draw it as I see it. Pain is
the root of painting, a sublime but macabre orientation,
and there is plenty to go around. This is not Estados
Unidos; we are not drunk on indulgence. Aqui,
the smile is spared and the scarce meant to last.
But it doesn’t, and then los animales son the best
companions, the truth of the monkey’s sadness, mimicry.
--There is that, and what is not exotic about me I embellish,
the beautiful tragedies, near-misses, and heady gambles,
each scarring its path across the corporeal. But save your pity:
a broken body can sharpen resolve. And clear the picture.