Poets Olivia Hall and Carrie Rudzinski (Photo: Andi Crown)
Poets Olivia Hall and Carrie Rudzinski (Photo: Andi Crown)

BooksJune 23, 2022

The Friday Poem: ‘Body is Dangerous’ by Carrie Rudzinski and Olivia Hall

Poets Olivia Hall and Carrie Rudzinski (Photo: Andi Crown)
Poets Olivia Hall and Carrie Rudzinski (Photo: Andi Crown)

A poem from Carrie Rudzinski and Olivia Hall’s show Hysterical.

Body is Dangerous

This body is not my body
is not my body is not a body
is not body.

Body built by men, stitched
together like Frankenstein,
road map of unwanted touches.

Body broken glass, jagged,
cursed at, grabbed, squeezed.
Endless stampede of hands
graze breast, hold tongue.

Body blister, husk stripped
by strangers, folded like surrender,
reminder our bodies have never
belonged to us.

All Daddy issues, tempting boys in high
school corridors, collarbones showing.
All smiles demanded on the street.

Body sent home from school for not wearing enough.
Body sent home from beach for wearing too much.

World has never asked permission
only invented laws to strip body’s autonomy.

France says body can consent to sex at 15
but not to wearing a hijab until 18.

Fold racism into law, call it liberation
fold religion into law, call it justice.

Texas bans abortion 6 weeks after body’s last period.
Texas bans choice. Assistance. Healthcare.

Who does body ask for help if it is a crime
to have a womb? To be unknowingly pregnant?
To have a miscarriage?

Britney Spears legally not allowed to remove
her IUD for fourteen years.

If body does not need permission
body is dangerous.

Caster Semenya forced to suppress body’s
natural testosterone to compete in female classified sports.

Who determines if body is worthy?
If body is holy? If body is right?

Gender non-confirming bodies policed. Targeted.
375 trans people murdered last year for living in body.

Body is                                                    dangerous dangerous dangerous
body is                                                    danger
body                                                        danger

body house on fire
body trapped inside
body fire

red welts burning from where
body was touched before asked
blister

                 fire

                               smoke

                                                   then ash

but body only home ever known
body mother’s first gift
body carved from the weapons
it was first crushed with

body                                                        reborn
body                                                        reborn
body                                                        reborn

My body comes back to me
like a chant
a mantra
a spell

hold each piece of body
and pray to it, give worship to that
which was deemed unholy
but is in fact a miracle.

Watch body come back to me
dancing in eye of storm
weightless in ocean of opinions

body miracle
shard of precious metal
flash of light in sun.

Watch body come back to me
ultimate forgiver
washed clean of sins
body bends and bends
she has never surrendered
no matter how many times I wished her away.

Body fortress of howls
prayers of living
in the soft yes of body

beg forgiveness at the altar of skin
even when love is bruised, rotting.

This body is my body

                    is my body

                    is my body

body forgiven
body worthy
body mine.

 

Carrie Rudzinski and Olivia Hall’s Hysterical is on at Auckland’s Basement Theatre from 5-9 July 2022.

The Friday Poem is edited by Chris Tse. Submissions are welcome and will be open until 31 July 2022. Please send up to three poems in a Word or PDF document to chris@christse.co.nz

The Spinoff Review of Books is proudly brought to you by Unity Books, recently named 2020 International Book Store of the Year, London Book Fair, and Creative New Zealand. Visit Unity Books Wellington or Unity Books Auckland online stores today. 

Mad Chapman, Editor
Aotearoa continues to adapt to a new reality and The Spinoff is right there, sorting fact from fiction to bring you the latest updates and biggest stories. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

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