BODY MATTERS $12
The poems in Susan Glassmeyer’s chapbook Body Matters (Pudding House Publications, 2010) came into the world following a long gestation period. Her career began as a medically Licensed Massage Therapist, then flourished over time with extensive studies and trainings that include The Feldenkrais Method®, Sensory Awareness, and BioPsychosynthesis. As a highly regarded therapist, educator, and co-director of The Holistic Health Center of Cincinnati, Susan Glassmeyer offers this rare collection of poems written by a professional bodyworker. With permission from her clients, Susan respectfully shares their tales of psycho-physical bravery, redemption, and healing. Her evocative poems invite the reader to reflect on what it means to “occupy one’s body”.
To purchase a copy of Body Matters,
please contact Susan directly.
Of the two hundred six bones
in your one hundred ten pound body,
your left femur, the distal end of a humerus,
a fibula, patella, and more Latin names
meaning ankle, wrist, hip and cheek, all
busted to pieces from twenty-five years of fast
horses bucking you in barn stalls and gates.
I don't believe you at first when you say
you quit smoking years ago because
—every time my hands press your pectoralis muscles
riding them over the hard ground of your ribs
guiding your breath with the whip crack of friction
bearing down on that chest for the longest
exhalation your lungs can still bet on—
a cloud of old tobacco escapes into the air
with a potency so fresh I think
my nicotine-stained father
has come back to life.
Your head turns only one way now
due to a failed surgical procedure to repair
that old racetrack injury to your collarbone.
When I support your lateral neck muscles
that have begun to atrophy, you smile
because it feels good, and say to me:
I guess it's easier to work on a small man
than a big one.
Sternum to umbilicus, the scar
along the median of your flesh
is not flush, not inlaid
or tailor-made the way some
skinny smooth ones are.
Yours is a bulbous keloid,
a string of fibrous tissue,
bubbling fire along
the fault of that incision.
Early on you dodged most questions
about its origin. Said only
your homeland was the ghetto.
That the ER doc who saved you
nicknamed you The Zipper.
Later, your admission
was crack-house harsh.
To end a decade of addiction,
you downed a mix of milk & Drano.
Blacked out and barely conscious
when your pimp found you burning.
You praise the gods you made it out
and joke your only fix is now this
steady dose of tender touch,
balm of almond oil
stringing knots of angry flesh
into a strand of pearls.
After your mother died, your brothers
offered you the hope chest she locked
you in when she went mad; stored you
in cedar to beat home childhood lessons.
When the sight of candy canes on my desk
undid your Christmas week appointment,
you turned hot with shame that she once melted
them in the wrong mouth of your body.
As for the day the radiologist questioned
the untreated fracture of your shoulder, you
flew back to second grade, riding high
in a swing-plan to kill yourself jumping.
Sick of an assortment of sicknesses,
your grown-up self finds hope is not
contained within the body, but the body
is one place to revolutionize the sorrow.