"Those were hard things for me to come by, and I offer them to you for what they may be worth." - Toby Wolff

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Dancer in Doc Martens

One day you will doubt your life, and everything in it. You will try on the days like shirts, discarding one after another as an ill fit. You will buy shirts that hang in the closet, their paper tags...scratchy wind chimes against the flit of your hand over so many choices. You won't know your size, or the colors that highlight your skin. You'll choose a peuce silk that clings to EVERYTHING and makes you look ill or pregnant, and wonder how the hell it even wound up in your wardrobe. You'll put on a sweater to cover the lack of tailoring, and a coat to cover the sweater. The day will be hot and humid and you, a wilting lettuce beneath layers that do not belong.

You'll buy shoes....for shoes are always a good idea. But not these. You will put them on - a nurse in stilettos, a dancer in Doc Martens. You don't know who you are anymore. Just a person with shoes. Too many shoes. You'll throw the shoes against the people in your life, rip clothes from hangers and toss them at their feet until they are mountains of questions. You'll strip from your clothes and stand before the naked stranger.

You will question the slant of your eyes and your hair cut. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH YOUR HAIR? You will pin it up and let it down. You will brush it until it starts to fall into cancerous clumps, which you will pick up and hold beneath your armpits. You will hunch over in a neolithic stance, wondering of your age, concerned with where your childhood went and how long it will take to die.

You will run into the yard and lay your naked body down in the grass, center yourself and pray: "God take me", and He won't, because it is the one prayer that goes unanswered. And your tears will fall steady without sobs, just a river of grief with no distinct beginning and no funeral to attend. You will be startled by the grasshopper that lands on your leg, and again when the leaf falls upon your nipple. You will not know if it is day or night, winter or spring. But soon, you are no longer nude. You are clothed in insects and flora, completely outside your own effort. You rise again to the reflection and a glimmer of recognition dawns...something subliminal that feels known to you. You'll lean your forehead against the glass and look at your out of focus face...

...suddenly it all seems clear as mud.


  1. I'm comfortable reading this, I feel at home, like promises as easily swept as fingerprints on a mirror

  2. perhaps the best (for me) that you've ever written. i love it. i know it, well, except for the closet, but for the metaphor of closet, yes!

    that which makes us unmakes us makes us unmakes us makes...

    and so just what is it under there?

    scream at the trees! scream at the trees and lay by the water and beckon earth to dress us.


  3. Quite lovely Annie, what's on your mind?

  4. You've painted my life with the tender, fragile brush of your exquisite words, my Annie. Holy, holy, holy! Thank you for this. It's meat to my dry, brittle bones and drink to my parched soul. I think I feel my heart beating once again...I do so love you. xoxo

  5. Ben - Thanks :) Beautiful insanity.

    Lorraine - Welcome to my madness. It's always good to have a friend.

    Erin - Sometimes I am just so confused by myself. I wanted to write a better ending...some platitude like "it will all be okay." I'm not there yet. I am still in my closet, but starting to thin it out :)

    Travis - Goodness, wasn't that enough of my mind for one sitting? Thank you.

    Marion - I'm so glad I plumped your bones dear friend. Thank you so much for the card and beautiful magnet. Getting tangible mail from you is a masterpiece through and through. ((Hugs))

  6. Makes me feel the need to clean my closet...both figuratively AND literally!

  7. To be startled by a grasshopper landing on my leg. I don't think I will ever feel more naked. But, of course, it can not go on for long. Soon I will be clothed in insects and flora. Butterflies perhaps. And clover. I wish it to be clover. I don't know if I'll be frightened then or glad. But I know that just before I get up, I will remember your prophesy in gratitude.

  8. Liza - Best of luck to you...with both endeavors :)

    Andreas - Then clover it shall be. And butterflies. Yes. I should have written it so.

  9. and yet, so much to be grateful for even in the midst of chaos and growth and change...your words are a gift!

  10. oh my, what can i say to this so fine writer? nothing literary, that's for sure. (you inspire me to write like the angel who writes as you)

    but i do have advice. go shopping, ww. buy what ever wild outfit (or shoes) that causes that giddiness we've now talked about. why not? what do you have to lose besides $$$ ? and please make sure you choose a SOFT cozy fabric. that part is important. ♥

    there may be a metaphor in this comment,but maybe not. maybe it's just one shopper talking to another. :^)

    i think it's time to say i'm glad to know you. please look for me on the path.

  11. EcoGrrl - So true. chaos, growth and change are delicate, fine and cherished.

    KJ - You got it. I am on the move towards some soft, expensive shoes :) And I'm glad we are on the path together. I'm sure we will be waving or walking arm in arm quite often!

  12. i'll take clear as much, some days. lots of days:)
    beautiful images, especially about holding the clumps of hair under your armpit. i love that you get down and dirty with your graphics, not that you haven't been dirtier:) and i think i've mentioned it before as well.
    i love the yearning and longing, and willingness to be disappointed here, to put it out for all to see. the leaf on the nipple really is pretty, even though you are not feeling pretty in this. or are you? there's some eternal quality in this. you found something worth finding here, something in or through the mud.

  13. One day I will doubt? I doubt all the time, but in similar ways. Enjoyed the humor, and of course, seeing through your eyes.

  14. Anthony and Ed - Can I respond to both, because the emotions ying and yang against each other. I find it so amazing that Anthony found humor here, as I felt none. There was no smile as I wrote this, and yet...in hindsight, I can clearly see that viewpoint. My mind is far grittier than my graphics allow, but I am trying to open myself to them, eeek them out for consideration and acceptance I suppose. Yes, the willingness to say we are disappointed, because at times we all are...in ourselves, in our lives, in our work. No Ed, I was not feeling at all pretty in this. If I was truly graphic, the image would have been of myself and the ugliness would have been apparent. But I am not that brave.

    Thank you both! I always appreciate how you contribute to the thread of thought.

  15. And yet we find all those shoes that do not fit and shirts that wash out our skin tone somehow lead us to the discovery of who we are. We are what is left when everything else didn't work out.

    I really saw the hope in this.

  16. I saw humor in this as well, just because I think it's all too human of a perspective and circumstance for someone not to go, "Yep. Been there. Done that."

    I am so bad with clothes anyway... but I have many, many fond memories of dancing in Doc Martens :)

    Here's hoping that cleaning out your closet will help you clean out your life a little :)

  17. Annie your words are alway perfect. I have felt this way. For many months I have been the girl trying on days like ill fitting shirts. I totally get that. Just today I began to wonder if it's okay it the shirts don't fit..? :)

  18. Oh my gosh, I love how you wrote this, Annie! But, I have to admit, I have had countless unanswered prayers...

  19. Eva - We cannot extricate the ill fitting, nor the form fitting from the impact they makes on us, and the changes brought about by them.

    Tracy - Ha! If only it were that simple, though my closet definitely needs thinning. Well then...so does my ass.

    Tabitha - Yes. Each day is a discovery. That blouse, the one that makes your skin look sallow and has the one arm six inches longer than the other...the one with the missing button and the unraveling shoulder seam? You look so beautiful in that Tabitha. Exquisit in your questioning!

    Amy - Yes, I've already taken flack for the opposing view, that it can't possibily be the only prayer God does not answer. And it is not. Artistic license, and I'm sure God was not pleased. And I find that we often label unanswered prayers as such because the answer was "no". It's still an answer, yes? Just not the one we wanted.

  20. You express your anger & confusion so well! I just cry and talk when I'm in that state. Maybe I'll try writing one of these days. :)

  21. Reminds me of a story I'm yet to write about reinvention.

    Yes, the old reinvention story. I'll call it Saul 2.0 or some such, and it'll start with the guy on a cliff overlooking the lake at dawn as the sun comes up from behind the lake-dam to the east. His arms will be spread and he'll be naked because a few moments before he had thrown his clothes in the lake, shoes and all.

    His last thought-words had been Fuckit, one word actually, not two, and chunk, down the cliff and into the lake with his clothes, skivvies and all.

    He hears joggers behind him along the trail busting dawn with him. He hears them whisper, and realizes his goddamned car keys are still in his pants.

    And so it begins.

    - Eric

  22. our heart is spoken to when we lie almost
    broken and alone - and with the heart's
    wisdom our life changes for the good.

  23. I love the notion of a "Dancer in Doc Martens". Aren't we all?


Thank you for listening.