birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

I Sing the Body

… “these are not the parts and poems of the body only, but of the soul …” -- Whitman

I go back to reading or listening to recitations of I Sing the Body Electric at least once or more a year when I feel disembodied, disconnected, unappreciative or overly negative about my body.

These are my ears. I experienced hearing loss from an early age. Was it loud music, an ear infection, the wrong kind of antibiotics? I remember the shock of hearing birds singing in my mid-20s after years of gradually creeping loss, a bulldozer cutting into the ground in the background. Today I savor every sound, when I can hear it --even with terrible background noise.

This is my hair. It used to be long and thick and wavy on my head. Now most of it is gone. I like to think they migrated en-masse to the rest of my body, especially my chest!

These are my hands! They could quickly dismantle any toy, to see “what makes it tick?” They also were incredibly skilled in reassembling complex machinery. Hands can wreck and create, explore and caress.
These are my thighs? They are thick and strong. I spent an entire childhood exercising them, pedaling on a bike, running, exploring the world.

These are our bodies. I refuse to make you sit motionless in a chair for the entire duration of the course. You must get up and move around --do an improv exercise or dance …

 

Speaking Parts

Harry Potter and the Cure for Diabetes