Wednesday, November 10, 2010

'Its all academic'... a little self-indulgent reminder...

I'm trying to find my old university assignments on the external hard drive thingy. Its been updated semi-regularly, generally when there is a cyclone approaching. I just wanted a little trip down memory lane to remind myself that before pregnancy hormones and years of breastfeeding (can intelligence leak out through the nipples?) that I did once have a fairly good brain.

I may be cheating with the majority of this post in that I am going to include a poem I wrote as part of my Honours thesis five (5!!) years ago. And let me tell you, I ain't no poetry writer. Not having studied poetry (avoided as much as possible), I don't know if it is any good. It may be a little too tied up in my thesis (a thesis about women and comedic writing) to be understood generally. I'll introduce it only by saying 'it came to me' while soaking in a bath, during my thesis writing years.

Here goes...(complete with footnotes perhaps?)

A Womb of One’s Own

A ‘womb of one’s own’ at the End of the Mile
But for the dog’s whine conversing with the gurgling of my belly

Pitch dark
No candles even, to seduce myself with
Amniotic bath water

And like a HB pencil shaded over a coin
It will reveal the imprints and ridges of today’s massage
I feel tomorrow’s bruises today
I’ve been worked over and over
Pushed and pulled and prodded
Looked forward to it for days
It has wiped me out

The silence is deafening
(To use a worn out cliché – but I feel just as worn)
I’ve avoided this silence for weeks
It loomed too large
My mind is unmoored
It soars away from this floating body
I worry that I will never get it back
But I also worry that I will
Would be a shame to reign it in so soon after release

My mind is quieter with external commotion
It is soothed by white noise – it’s boisterous Other
Random, unorchestrated, omnipresent sounds
Noise which comes from nowhere and everywhere
Saying everything, meaning nothing
Does this make white noise ‘feminine’?[1]
Externalised, Othered, illogical and multivoiced
Many theorists would say so
How can ‘white’ noise be feminine?
It contravenes binary oppositions

Darkness penetrated by sensory light
Tripped in neighbour’s yard
Lights, camera, action
Star in my own ultrasound video
Study my hands and fingers
Moving like a flamenco dancer’s, only slower
Rediscover proprioception
Where am’I’, in relation to my-‘self’?

He answers another emergency call
‘She was staggering down my street’ he blathers
‘She’s holding her baby in her arms
There’s blood
It’s everywhere
How do I cut the cord?
The umbilical cord, how do I cut it?’

You’re asking the wrong girl
Mine’s still attached
It is a long cord of cables, wires, optic fibres, bits and bytes
Hello and Goodbye
Open and Send
‘Mum, make him leave me alone’
‘Mum, what’s for dinner’
‘Mum, can I borrow $20 bucks’
‘Mum, he’s leaving me alone, how can I make him stop?’
This cord is strong
Stronger than vines
Like Tarzan we will swing from these cords
Through our own jungles

The releasing of cords starts outside my office window
Men and women escaped from the maternity ward
It is too real in there
They pace
And pace
Squats punctuate contractions
‘Get a room!’ I scream at them, silently

Inhale, I float
Exhale, I sink
Simulated hypothetical drowning
Unlike Virginia at the end of her life
The womb of her own
Was not a small domestic suburban bath
But a river
That had been somewhere and was heading elsewhere
But I’ve never been ambitious

I want to stay in this bath forever
A second chance
A reincubation
I could develop again in this womb
Play me music through the locked door
(Puccini, I like Puccini)
Speak to me, so that I will know your voices when I am reborn
Intellectual stimulation in-bathroom (not in-uterine)
I would regenerate
To start anew
But could I survive out there?
Born agains can be difficult to bear

Obtrusive mobile vibration and precocious beeps
Disrupt my reverie
If I were to drop the phone
Would I die in my womb of my own?
A circle of life
Just like technology wants

Cordless, remote and senseless [3]

What do you think? Should I give up my day job? ;-)

[1] ‘… it is quite common for women’s writing like their speech to be regarded as trivial: “’The silent sex’ was never considered to be actually non-speaking.  Talking constantly, women emitted chatter, gossip and foolishness.  Gushing forth torrents of empty words, babbling contradictorily, all sense cancelled out, leaving merely white noise”, Gallop, 1980: 274 in Mills, S. (1993) Discourses of difference: an analysis of women’s travel writing and colonialism, Routledge, London and New York: 118
[2] See M. Klages,1997, ‘Notes on Hélène Cixous “The Laugh of the Medusa”’, University of Colorado,, [accessed online 26th September 2004]

[3] With respect to écriture féminine, ‘…Cixous stresses that the inscription of the rhythms and articulations of the mother’s body which continue to influence the adult self provides a link to the pre-symbolic union between self and m/other, and so affects the subject’s relationship to language, the other, himself and the world’, S. Sellers, (ed),1994, The Hélène Cixous reader: edited by Susan Sellers: with a preface by Hélène Cixous and foreword by Jacques Derrida, Routledge, London and New York: xxix

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