Love emBodies You – S. Renée Mitchell

On June 24, 2018, Resonance Ensemble's Poet in Residence, S. Renee Mitchell premiered this original work at BODIES, the third and final concert of our ninth season. The concert took place at Cerimon House, in Portland, OR. 

so no matter
what was witnessed, whispered, shouted, or scribbled
on your locker, lunch bag, note book
or desk in that first period math class you hated so much
you do matter 
your body was never invisible
— S. Renee Mitchell, Poet in Residence
 Photo Credit: Kenton Waltz

Photo Credit: Kenton Waltz

Love emBodies You
(c) 2018 S. Renee Mitchell

bodies  bodies  bodies
arms    legs      collarbone   shoulder
each limb holds thousands of portals
opportunities really
that all long for the tender touch of another

toes    lips   fingertips     honeyed eyes
all embody evidence  - proof really
of whether touches over the whole of our lives
have transmitted tenderness
|or dull aches from that frightful pinch on the back of the arm

all transferences - of love or of pain - are possible
through the touch of another

how then do we begin to find our own rhythm
to express the individual and unique melodies
buried within each of our bodies
blood memories of a lifetime of public and private interactions

what then, pray tell, could adequately express
the stanzas of your siren’s song

your "you ness" is indisputable
just as surely as is the two-haired mole
underneath your upper arm
off centered - just north of your elbow
its unmistakable presence is there - as are you

so no matter
what was witnessed, whispered, shouted, or scribbled
on your locker, lunch bag, note book
or desk in that first period math class you hated so much
you do matter
your body was never invisible

think back, if you will
to the resonance of fresh oxygen
filling your lungs for the first time
how you reminded all within earshot
that you have arrived

your presence on this earth
is irrefutable

it is only when public choices
of whom to embrace
where to touch
when private preferences are witnessed or imagined
that erupts a wrong note
generates discord and public disgust
emboldens closed minds - and closeted hypocrites
who attempt to erase queer relevance
erect psychological walls of hate
manufacture heartbreak
like it was a red-light special
giving one permission
to procure hated with a 2-for-1 discounting
- no coupon required

you there over listening to my words
what key does that type of misery sing in?
where on your body do you carry the ache
seeded from the ongoing trauma
of America’s same-sex shame

yes I am talking to you
you who have swallowed your melody
and imprisoned it in the back of your throat
it is time to sing a new song
think pretty thoughts
feel stunning
wave your rainbow high

in these particular moments we are sharing together
we will celebrate through songs
quotes - poetic intention
the struggle for marriage equality
today we will honor the lives
of those imprisoned for pursuing their passion
those hung on lonely rural fences
or beaten on busy city streets

today - we see you
we see you, you and you
we see you, you and even you

we will celebrate
how living for pleasure
made Oscar Wilde

together - we will witness
the cadence of a
feisty - gender bending song of perfect propriety
together - we will relate to Hannah’s relief
after discovering a comforting word - a magic word -
in her local library
that reminded her – finally
she was not alone
not even when she was once he

the lyrics of songs will be bold
the diverse musical styles will be woven into a whole
but ultimately all asking
 - how can we be a dream?
how can we sing a new song – individually and in unison?
how can our hopes fly over the rainbow?

today -  this gathering holds space for healing
it is here
where you are loved unconditionally
it is here - together
where you are your own self
and you are welcomed - seen - celebrated - complete
no assembly required

arms   neck     legs    shoulder
|each limb longs for the touch of another
toes   lips   fingertips    honeyed eyes
all embody evidence
of how love has entered our bodies

so  I ask you: who can sing your ballad but you?
look within to find your distinctive tempo
pluck words from lingering grief
unabashed gratitude and even shameless indulgence

craft your chorus with love
love that lifts and dwells and moves the stars
love open and strong
 - authentic and ancient
love that is loud, flamboyant  - and full of pride

so sorry  - that it took  - so long

 Photo Credit: Kenton Waltz

Photo Credit: Kenton Waltz