Poem: The Body is a Fairy Tale

23 Feb

I was reading the dream journals of Jack Kerouac and came across the phrase “peach meat”.  Didn’t care for the dream but found the phrase compelling. I knew that I wanted to freewrite on it and see what it kicked up. Twelve drafts later (!) here it is. Started off as poem and became prose, but I think it’s still a poem at heart.

Let me know what you think.


The body is a fairy tale, a story that we tell ourselves that started long ago. Back then, we were mostly mouths that spoke only sometimes and always of our love for each other.  Back then, we had only heads, and no bodies. Our heads rolled around like peaches, happy and unthinking.

Back then, the body was a fairy tale, a story that we told ourselves every day. But one day it came true, as repeated stories often do. We became so enamored of the thought, we stopped our moving, lost in the dream.  Our scalps became rooted to the earth. And the story became a seed that grew, our heads like planting pots, the neck guiding the soft pink stalks upwards, until they became feet that we could walk around on.

That’s when the problems began. We spoke too often and frequently of nothing. We became obsessed with our new bodies, and their strange smells and juices. We began to consume each other with our mouths and with violence.  We learned to spread our juices by spreading our legs and by spreading war. We broke each others bodies in the name of love, and in the name of nations we broke each other bodies to spread the fruit flesh out for all to see, to speak as if with one big mouth: “We are better because we are victorious.”

But the body is a fairy tale, do you not remember? There still are soft reminders: Can you feel it in your cheek, this irritation, where the skin has been rubbed raw by the edge of a tooth? The flap of skin, pink and pulpy and lithe against the teeth. Probe it with your tongue until it peels free and you can hold it in your hands. Dream of a time when our mouths were minor miracles.  I remember this ancient time when I say your name, when I feel the soft stone of you under my tongue.  I speak your name, pit and flesh, and long to return there.

Let us unwrite this fairytale with our fingers. Let us revoke ourselves with silence. With these things we loosen the hold of this dank and slippery meat between our ears and our thighs. Help me put down this body and these words, and let’s drink stone tea together, the bitter taste of which becomes sweeter over time. Let it reduce us until we are bones, whole and forgotten, sleeping, dreaming of something better to grow.


3 Responses to “Poem: The Body is a Fairy Tale”

  1. Adam February 23, 2010 at 22:38 #

    I love creation stories. This one’s a little reminiscent somehow of Hedwig and the Angry Inch for me. Emotional resonance more than anything.

    Keep writing,

    • cxw February 23, 2010 at 23:05 #

      Yeah, I’m a sucker for them and their mythic/fairy tale ways as well. They have primacy, power, and magic to them. Perhaps because they’re one of the reasons, if not the reason, that humans started telling stories?


  1. Good Writing Makes Sense of the World « Word Games - February 25, 2010

    […] drawn to them. As a friend pointed out in the comments, the short piece I posted a few days back, The Body is a Fairy Tale, is a creation […]

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