I have been thinking about bodies recently. I have been thinking about women’s bodies specifically. Throughout my life I’ve had a lot of relationships with my body: love, hatred, ignorance, misunderstanding, judgment, and fear.
It’s only now that I have realized, and I know: I am my body. There is no separation from it: there is no such thing as the solitary mind. As women, I think that the journey towards a healthy relationship with our bodies is made so much more complex by external social pressures and confusing media messages.
I want to reclaim my body.
After all, it is mine to enjoy and to explore and to encompass.
So, I’ve been writing poetry about it. I wrote this poem about the ambiguous emotions I’ve experienced when I have been objectified–trying to untangle the dichotomy between the thrill of recognition as a sexual being and the rage of my feminist, rational mind at not being appreciated. These two contradicting sides of myself I relate to my split cultural identity. Because I am an American who grew up in Russia and my brain can think in two languages. On my last trip to Russia I wrote this bilingual poem about how I can respond in two ways to the same experience.
Da nenavizhu you
The flaunting of your pezdets
On the utilizes
Creature like a skripka
Slurred chirping at my figure
Where are your slovas?
I am no korova
Come on baby, we don’t need to znakomitsya
I already know your kind
Your stripes I have videla
Nyet, obezhayu this
Naked shadow of the kiss
shumy of your lips
Thrusting pelvis, skazhu yes.
My body = krasiva
Because you lubesh it
So even the durak in the dvor knows this
Ya devushka. You are man.
Ponemaesh? I understand.
Ruth Bryan is the latest addition to the PDXX Collective and our Seattle import. She is an admin by day and an artist by night. She writes her poetry on busses on the way to work and when she can’t sleep in the middle of the night. She also sings, writes songs, and plays in the band Be Honest, Ruth Bryan!
Recently, she has become involved with and will be featured in the local zine “You Have Been Eaten by a Hamburger,” and she is also involved with Richard Hugo House’s Works in Progress. She also meets weekly with a group of mostly elderly poetry lovers at the Central Library.
Her inspiration is life itself and the necessity of doing something with all that she feels about the world she experiences. She is also inspired by strong women writers who have encountered the world in such strong and brave ways–Edith Wharton, Sylvia Plath, Emily Bronte and Virginia Woolf, to name a few.