I plan to always suffer gladly all new gentle (or not) etchings upon my skin. I, in fact, plan on making a point welcoming each wavy, rutted, elastic new line. This is my largest organ, the skin, the part that encases and carries me from birth until death, at which point may it fall away in relief and happily. It has been an ignominious as well as lustrous journey from there to here and I do approve of how it has made its story marks upon me each year. It’s my ordinary, ecstatic life–what is not to like about breathing and moving and entering another day into the span of time with heart pounding, mind poking about, soul sailing along like an invisible, encouraging overseer as this skin carts me about?
I’ve noticed my pillow case’s creases leave more markings. My daybreak face is reminiscent of the night’s peculiar magic. My less visible chest is textured with light scribbles like little rivulets if imagined from far above, a landscape of curves and slopes and fine detours and scarred places that were unexpected pauses along the trails left from the dark’s ways and daylight dreamings and doings. They all seem irrelevant until I get a flash of origins. Then lose interest. I would rather be present in this material body, not a captive of the past, for it has been wrought of miraculous sinew and cells, biomechanics, conduits for data and mad thrills and small, brave outings that have made a thing I can only imagine since I cannot see it in full. Not from here. My eyes see only a few discrete parts. My skin sees it all without me knowing fully; it records and relegates my life to itself and says hallelujah or hold on or what’s next?
I smooth back greying hair, study clues and secrets. This phenomenon of wrinkles that America keeps telling me I must wage war against? I resist this decree. It is absurd, arises from fallacy. Everything that has lived and matters has signs of life, unique markings, the madness of survival bargaining, the gasps of its own prime beauty. Smoothness now hardened where there has been friction, grooves and tunnels that herald new destinations. This is fine common art, our best and worst living. It creates itself in exquisite folds and generous crumples and lively ticks and tats and tears that end up like brave sweet embroidery; it completes its own repair work with ingenuity, endless extraordinary design. I’ll take mine, cannot bear to erase one of these sorrowful, foolish, loving, exuberant tales that swath the kind and courageous vehicle that holds me and thank you, thank you, my body, for all of them today and all that are soon to come.