birth II

reach the light

nose pressed to the glass
they watch and wait
to see what is growing beneath
my mushroom soup skin
seconds
minutes
hours
measure
the space between
a speaker I cannot see
comes alive with sound
‘breathe’
‘do not move’
‘you are doing great’
she tells me
copper pennies sit on my tongue
pleased to settle among the rocks and mud
I wait to be born
to slide out of this long corridor
be released
please
wrap me
in lavendar
the metal sings with current
piercing through to image
save the stories of feet growing
in my left breast
for another day
pause
then wipe the vomit
from my lips
before returning again
to the peep show
lay me to rest
under the blue-green screen haze
naked
shivering
inside this magnetic resonance
let me wait
dreaming of a gentler day
before the nurse presses
another warmed blanket
to my skin
and wheels me away.
~

Jan 21, 2017
Leigh-Anne Fraser

Today I attended a poetry workshop hosted by the London Poetry Slam. It’s the first time in a little more than 21 years that I have taken part in something like this (way back in university) and definitely the same amount of time has passed since I read aloud a poem that I wrote to a group of mostly strangers.

A lot has changed in the past couple of decades, not the least of which my ability to set aside my anxiety and let my voice be heard. I used to have very few problems standing on stage to sing, to speak or act. Theatre, performance and poetry were an very important outlet for me when I was in high school and university. Sadly, things changed, and I stopped stepping on stage at all, for many reasons, but mostly because I was afraid to. I am still afraid to. Today was scary and cathartic.

My oldest came with me. This is their scene – their friends. I am the outlier, but definitely a welcome one. Those who are part of the Slam community naturally create a safe space. I am very grateful for that. Now that I am officially settled in London after moving here in June, and I have recovered from some health issues/ surgeries, I really want to find ways to be more involved in the community (in addition to my work of course).

The workshop was an incredible for me. Small in size but manageable and led by the gifted Kyra who gave us some collaborative work to do, and then some solo time to write. Throughout the process, I was intrigued by what theme continued to be returned to me. Birth. A topic I could certainly spend years writing poems about. The poem above was birthed from the collaborative prompts we crafted as a group and shared.

It is a deeply personal poem, and one that I had not really anticipated on coming up, but it did. I know from writing with my friends at DD, and our promise to ‘dive deep’, that I would honour whatever did arrive today. I did that. I cried when I read the words. Partially, I did because I was so anxious about speaking to the group and reading out loud, and partially because of the subject matter. I was safe to and I am very grateful for that as well.

I was brave, and the group was brave right along with me.

pretty cool.

la.

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