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Ode to the Chronically Ill Body

By Camisha Jones

This body    is one long moan

My feet                a landscape of mines
My legs                two full pails of water I spill
                                                                         at the weight of
My back              where the sharpest knives are kept
My hands            a scatter of matches     ready to spark into flame

This body       is lightning
     Strikes the same place      more than twice

This body       is a fist                         pounding its own hand
This body       crumples like paper
           I crumple     like paper           because of this body
This body       just wants        and wants         and wants
This body
             Says stop
   Says go
             Says stop
   Says run
            Says stop
            Says STOP
This body is        a stubborn traffic light           stuck on red
This body will   
               have what it wants       Or it is
                             blasphemous        tantrum down every grocery store aisle
This body         makes an embarrassment      of me
This body is 
      an embarrassment
                  Then pleasure               Then hunger
                                  Then defender             Then defendant
                  Then carriage
                                  Then coffin
This body is          Tupperware with its secrets        sealed tight
This body               scrapes              and falls
Then gets back up        again      and again 
               It's all I got      to get back up with         again
This body               is an ocean        of oil spill        all over me. 

Added: Friday, July 17, 2015  /  Used with permission.
Camisha Jones
Photo by Brandon Woods.

Camisha L. Jones is author of the Finishing Line Press chapbook, Flare, and a recipient of a 2017 Spoken Word Immersion Fellowship from The Loft Literary Center. Through both, she breaks silence around issues of invisible disability as someone living with hearing loss and chronic pain. Her poems can be found at Button Poetry, The Deaf Poets Society, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Typo, Rogue Agent, pluck!, Unfolding the Soul of Black Deaf Expressions, and The Quarry, Split This Rock’s social justice poetry database. She is also published in Let’s Get Real: What People of Color Can’t Say and Whites Won’t Ask about Racism (StirFry Seminars & Consulting, Inc., 2011), Class Lives: Stories from Across Our Economic Divide (ILR Press, 2014), and The Day Tajon Got Shot (Shout Mouse Press, 2017). She is Managing Director at Split This Rock. Find her on Facebook as Poet Camisha Jones, on Twitter as 1Camisha, on Instagram as 1camisha, and online at her blog.

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