Lurking Within Your Body

The idea of dwelling within yourself–of owning a body, marveling at it and what it can do, of being aware of the realm of health your body leaps and falls within–is a curious thing. I have had a few instances in my life in which I felt closely the confines of my body. For a spell of about four weeks last year I experienced what I would call vertigo, though I really can’t merit it as that. I felt very aware of myself in my body, and I was at a tilt within my skin. My body stood up straight—but I was unhinged, I didn’t line up. Usually I fell a little forward. I would wake up reeling in bed, but my body would sit stationary, with maybe a slight wobble. In the shower I sometimes crouched and held on to the sides of the tub because I was tilting too far. It was a strange, dizzying way of being. I was reminded of it in Whitman’s inscription “Eidolons”.

“Thy body permanent,
The body lurking there within thy body,
The only purport of the form thou art, the real I myself,
An image, an eidolon” (170).

In my case, my body quit lurking and started lurching, God only knows where it was trying to go. But I think that to be “lurking” within your body is to be trying to understand where you cut off and where the world begins, and to contemplate what to do with yourself. To realize that you have arms, growing out of you, and how enormous and wonderful this is. I love that Whitman was not ashamed to love and wonder at himself.

“Showing the best and dividing it from the worst age vexes age,
Knowing the perfect fitness and equanimity of things, while
They discuss I am silent, and go bathe and admire myself” (190).

Poet Gillian Conoley also explores the filling up of a body. This is taken from her poem “Native”.

“To looky here lies your
empty leg, your empty leg of even gin I would give you

for just the hint of I
I essence
I nuance up the flue.”

In this case, Conoley is asking for a lurker for this body that is absent. If you would like to read the full poem, here it is.

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1 Response to Lurking Within Your Body

  1. Anton Vander Zee says:

    Awesome post. And I think that counts as vertigo.

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