[I was grown. Grown as a woman, yes, but also, grown into the backbone of this house. My head was huge. My lips. My stomach. Every way, I felt my size. Felt my ears burning as I fumbled, slid in my skin and breath that woke the walls. And this was mine.]
I took part in a forum about gender for HTML Giant, a discussion I felt anxious and uncomfortable about, it has just been published, I haven't actually looked at it, I just went there and saw it, but go comment if you're interested, it's just part one, I don't think I was the best person to contribute, I'm afraid I came off as too constipated and didactic, for I am constipated, all I am is constipated lately, more in a moment, but Blake shared that he was fat as a child, how this marked him, this trauma, I am reading Blake in a new way now, how he writes the body, disgust, gooshy, I love the body as uncomfortable house here in this passage, also the androgyny of it, the embodying a woman's body, a dyspeptic Tiresias, I do think of Blake as a woman writer as well, I bet he would roll his eyes strenuously about that, but his writing of the body, the taboo.
And I think too more than anything I write because I was marked as a child, also the body, my stomach eating acid, the way I would churn, churn, I was always self-devouring, such a nervous high-strung child, always pressured to fit inside the lines, I began vomiting in the middle of the night as a small child, then gas pains so severe the emergency room visit they administer a pelvic exam to a screaming 12 year old virgin while they put smooth jazz on the stereo in the attempt to calm her and I am screaming, screaming, I double over with nerves in the classroom, knotted stomach tied, perhaps she should see a psychiatrist the authorities tell my parents and I never fit, no, not my handwriting in Catholic school, no, not in the box the dotted line, no, and the nuns dump my desk in the middle of the room, Katie has a dirty desk, the lunch bags I store like a guilty squirrel a mass grave in my locker the smell is emitting she is strange don't go near her. And one of the only times I feel comfortable within my body is when I write, and I am answering questions to Blake right now that he's posed for me for an interview for HTML Giant, and I'm being of course bulimic and vomitous with my answers to an embarassing extent, sometimes I just want to cut off my tongue, cut cut off my tongue, stop speaking, stop spewing, but I cannot, and it is a relief to be asked questions, and it is a relief to answer them, and all I've done the past week is pop 20 antiacids a day, and rolaids spells relief but it doesn't and that's the thing.
So I have the gut of a wearied war veteran who drinks scotch and cigarettes for breakfast, I am clutching myself, I am doubled over. All week before and in New York spasms colon abdominal esophogeal I am clenched I am dizzy with pain I sit in various public restrooms in the city and attempt to push a labor the faeces is the child. And I am struck how funny it is that I am supposed to write a book glorifying Artaud and the abject and I am just an bloated corpse of a body and I meditate on my uncle's bloated corpse of a body and I am internalizing and mimicking my uncle's symptoms like I am a traumatized Anna O whose father was so sick yes
and I have the explosive diarrhea and the constipation that feels like your bowel is bleeding and torn and I have strenuously vomited bile and now I have seen a specialist this morning and I have to have an endoscopy and a colonoscopy done just like my uncle with bile duct cancer and I think what an actress I am.
I am thinking of Artaud for the reasons of the abject body and plus I am reacting against all of the pastel mother's day paraphenalia, a holiday that really sits on my bowels, and I think of Artaud reborn through a motherless cunt.
Thinking of how my body would know to celebrate every year the anniversary of my mother's death, the last time I had to see a specialist, the same pain, the same pain but different roots, so they saw, I wrote about this in Book of Mutter and then took it out. And then last week the same spasms set in, the body remembers yes my body remembers no matter how much I try to repress.
Cancer is a demonic pregnancy. That is what Sontag writes in Illness as Metaphor.
The filmmaker and actress Barbara Loden died of cancer at the age of 48. She died in pain yelling out Shit! Shit! Shit!
Pain that is impossible to articulate. It is a world without language. A world of gasp and screams.
Shit shit shit
Pain which alters the self in such a profound way. The morning of my mother's anniversary, I give birth to her in a bathtub. I perform the loss of my mother in howling agony. The elaborate labor of death (It all happened so quickly I got her little things to eat her body so strange and alien now curiously heavy she was covered in sweat I changed her I bathed her like my little doll now I gave her a cool nightgown to wear her leathery skin she pushed and pushed and we fed her morphine out of a little dropper until more and more and a sudden tremendous groan and she left her body.) My mother. Last year in spring my grandmother. I prepare for my uncle. I perform it. I mimic it. I who am always called upon to be the midwife of the dead.
Last week. I am curled up fetal. I call John on speakerphone. I am dying I tell him. I am going to die. I am a sweaty cadaver. I pass out from the pain. I crawl to the bathroom. I slip again inside the bathtub. Like a dog that knows it's going to die.
I wonder if the neighbors thought I was being tortured. In truth I was being excommunicated from my body's church which I had damaged for so long.
My body pregnant with pain. My stomach distorted. They take 10 lbs of water from his bloated belly every week. 8lbs this week. A demonic pregnancy.
I crouch and moan. Monster. Mommy.
Wracked with spasms. Hours in agony. I am a naked seething thing. The towel slips off me. John finds me in this position on the bed. I am embarassed by my own body fluids. Like she was. Like he is. Such a fatality to all this.
Shit! Shit! Shit!
And what a strange state to be in, to prep the mind to write a book glorifying shit and vomit and writing the body while being all body, body, body. An instruction sheet to prep the body. And realizing this must be so. And I must set it so. For there is no other way to set it.