Wednesday, October 3, 2012

whiteSwanblack

grille of the pace car, Bristol Motor Speedway

poise en pointe, turn, snap pure
wing ~ wing ~ wing
swan Queen

(they adore you, court you,
stage & spot---) & from the shadows plays
her twin, dark & foreboding, come to seduce (you
don't want, they don't want you)

binge.
                            purge.
   
            thinner

            thinner

tiny dancer find your grace
keep
      your
            lines

(others waiting to take your place
& R willing to---but R you
for aRt?) a pound of flesh
makes all the difference, love/

HATE yourself, the stage, those that adore you,
love---yourself, carve the ledge of your ribs
where they lift you high, cheek bones,
bones & bones
                     (fat, fat, fat)

dance, we can't look
away, as you descend for our delight & what
is it for you whiteSwanblack,
does it answer the voices
when you hear them clap
                            clap
                       clap

fade to black.

written for Poetry Jam's love/hate and also for New World Creative Union.- I danced in college, to woo the dancer who would become my wife - and got a glimpse behind the curtain as well to how much they push themselves and ultimately hurt themselves for art.

Of course some of the same things are prevalent in our society as well. A friend, Emily, has written a book that tells her story of struggling with and overcoming an eating disorder. I think it is a book that will touch lives....it already is. You can read more on the book or purchase it here.

Thanks for the thoughts for my FIL yesterday as well....they are still unsure where he is bleeding internally and losing blood, so they are sending a scope down is throat and running liver tests today.

66 comments:

Pat Hatt said...

First first
With my burst

Mary said...

Boo - hiss - on Pat. LOL.

Pat Hatt said...

Such a world I barely see
But I know they go through a ton and some end up screwed up royaly
And the cat never knew
That was how you woe

Pat Hatt said...

hahahaha beat mary
And even made her contrary

Mary said...

(LOL - Pat!!)

Brian,
Definitely a love-hate thing with bulemia. You've written it well-- those with only skin covering visible bones who see themselves as fat. So very sad and so prevalent in certain fields. And SO difficult to treat.

Betsy Brock said...

Hope her book goes far!

There is a mom/wife/neighbor that has anorexia. She refuses to believe and won't get help even though those around her have tried. I'm so sad as I see her skeleton body furiously walk around the block each day....

Gloria said...

Dear Brian hope your father in law feel better still prayer of course:)

DJan said...

I immediately recalled Black Swan the movie, which I guess was intended, looking at the title. I've never been anorexic but understand where it comes from. So you were a dancer, too? Anything you haven't sampled? :-)

Natasha Head said...

Look at that...I've made it in before comment 90! Love, once again, the way you tackle weighty issues with bite to your words. I've been honored to have a few glimpses behind the curtain..no joke the sacrifices made...more than once I have been floored by them and their dedication to the craft...fat...fat...fat...(that's a whole other rant...but I am off to check out that book.) Still sending lots of love and light to your FIL...I know well the frustration that comes with simply not knowing...prayers for him today.

kaykuala said...

The walking skeletons are not arising from weight problems. They are more of a mind rather than a food disorder thing. Prayers for a speedy recovery for your FIL, Brian!

Hank

Jenny said...

well written again, Brian.Is there anything you haven't done?!
Prayers and only the best for father-in-law.

rosaria williams said...

What a sad thing, for many, many girls, even if they aren't in show biz.

Shadow said...

this happens in a lot of industries... thank goodness the passion's there, otherwise it must be unbearable... keeping you guys in my prayers!

Daydreamertoo said...

Cathie had anorexia which she had kept well hidden from everyone for years. In the end, along with so much else, it is one of the things which helped to kill her. This is so sad when people starve and purge for their works. It may give them fame but, for sure ruins their body and its ability to heal itself. Jockeys do the same thing, take tons of laxatives to loose weight quickly before big races. Sad
Another deeply moving write. I do hope they pin down what is going on with your FIL asap. Such a worry.

Myrna R. said...

It's so strange - a society in which some strive to look starved, when there are others really starving.
But I guess we starve for different reasons, lack of food, lack of love, lack of a healthy approach to art.
**
I know it's difficult to have a loved one in the hospital. My heart is with you.

Lady Nyo said...

Blog wouldn't take post....I'll try again.

Ballet is entwined with ...at times...bulimia and anorexia. My mother was a dancer, and this way led to a particular madness. She would weigh her food on a postal scale and that of mine.

I was always too ' big' (even when I wasn't) for ballet....but bellydancing in later life was that way to use the body and creativity.

Good poem that points to a continuing problem.

Lady Nyo

Jyoti Mishra said...

a pound of flesh
makes all the difference...
true..
a lil difference is enoug.

hope you r doing fine Brian
been away for a while !!

Claudia said...

ugh..i know the inner voices that say fat, fat, fat when in reality there's not one gram left.. hard enough to battle them but even harder if you think you lose everything when you lose that battle against food...tough

Daniel said...

Loved the movement that you wove into this one. Nice. Oh, and loved the backstory. Keep on dancing.

Mama Zen said...

Painfully powerful, Brian.

Annmarie Pipa said...

when my girls started college I was SHOCKED to learn how prevalent eating disorders were..I had no idea...and it wasn';t only the dancers.

Annmarie Pipa said...

i hope things are going well with your wifes father

Peggy said...

Excellent depiction of the conflict created by the art of dance--and many other situations too where people think thin is the ultimate goal. Good luck to your FIL and family.

Lolamouse said...

A dancer's life is tough. My cousin suffered from anorexia when she was a dancer. Still struggles with weight and body image to this day as an adult. My thoughts are with you and your family. Hope everything is OK.

PattiKen said...

A dance career is so punishing. We see the beauty of it, and they feel the pain.

Valerie said...

Punishing is right, even so I admire all dancers who push themselves for the sake of art.

I hope the tests soon reveal what the problem is with your father in law... still sending prayers for his safe recovery.

Victoria said...

Wow! When I read this I felt the love/hate relationship and THEN I saw that it was to a prompt...that's how effective it was. I've know 2 people who have died from bulimia--one, sadly, a suicide.

Jody Costa said...

hey Brian, nice adaptation - the repetition/alliteration is very well done... really is amazing what we'll put ourselves through, isn't it?

Alice Audrey said...

I hope your FIL is quickly cured. Bleeding internally does not sound like a good thing.

I've done theater a few times and hobnobbed with a ballerina or two. When I said I thought I might try it they just laughed and said I had the wrong build. Wrong bones so that even dieting wouldn't do the trick.

moondustwriter said...

A great "behind the curtain" look at the dance and the dancer
I love the view from backstage but professionally it is not always pretty

hope all goes well for your FIL (praying)

Dolly@Soulstops said...

you describe well the pressure with these words, and the result...""carve the ledge of your ribs"...glad you were able to woo your dancing wife, and tie in with Emily's book...prayed for your FIL...blessings, Brian...

P.S. re: your comment about my post, a def "yes" to "fun" in learning more about our respective spouses.

Susie Clevenger said...

My youngest daughter is box office manager for the Tulsa Ballet so she sees this kind of thing everyday. It is such a competitive, grueling profession.

Rachel said...

beautiful, as always, brian.

continued prayers for your father in law.

Audrey Howitt aka Divalounger said...

I have a friend who is on staff for a major ballet company as their therapist because the pace and expectations are so grueling--totally got this

hedgewitch said...

This is one of your more cerebral takes, brian--it's a journey into some difficult places, but it has amazing rhythm holding it up, and I do get the feel of the sacrifice made for art, for that incredible lightness and grace that dancers have doesn't just happen out of nowhere. Hope your father in law is doing better, or you have at least found something out by now.

Laurie Kolp said...

This is spot on, Brian... and exactly why I researched the place where my daughter dances before I let her begin. I struggled with an eating disorder (same) for many years and would never wish that on anyone.

Cheryl said...

I live this one and not for art.

Heaven said...

I like the spinning and dancing words...it is sad that these things affect, punish and make all the difference, for the sake of art ~ Lovely writing Brian ~

Sending prayers to your FIL ~

Helen said...

You bring a sense of urgency and of movement to this piece ... starving and dance the most brutal of partners.

Jan Mader said...

Honestly, I'm new here, but I'm totally amazed. A poet and a dancer?!

Thanks for the info about the book. I'm one of those people who know that eating disorders are symptoms of a problem...not THE problem.

Tatius T. Darksong said...

I agree the things we go through in the name of art. Very good poem

Secret Agent Woman said...

Eating disorders - so tough to treat!

I hope your FIL is okay.

Who Is Afraid Of Miss Lovett? No, Mrs.Lovett... said...

dance, we can't look
away, as you descend for our delight & what
is it for you whiteSwanblack,
does it answer the voices
when you hear them clap
clap
clap

fade to black.

Hi! Brian...
First Of all, your wife, father is still in my thoughts and prayers.

Thanks, for sharing your very poetic words as you, describe[with sounds] the ups and down...side to being a dancer...I will follow the link [to Miss Emily's book] and Thanks, for sharing the image too!

deedee :)

Brian Miller said...

o'll do a full update tomorrow...but they found the source of the bleeding...it is in the asophagal lining...and his liver is messed up, potentially from agent orange in nam as he was not much of a drinker...

Ella said...


This was raw, real and revealing~
I love how you showed the two sides of the brain and the disconnect~
It does seem the person under this disease, splits and fights the angel n' devil on their shoulders~
Wow, this so portrays the essence n' dance of the disease~

Tara Miller said...

It's hard to put into words the passion a dancer has...it's as if it courses through your veins. Sacrifice and pain are just a part of the life of a dancer. I look back and wonder now how I endured the pain of dancing with bloodied toes, injured hips, etc. You're right, if you complain or aren't good enough, there's always someone waiting in the wings to take your spot. Beautiful, elegant and classical on the outside but very competitive and at times painful behind the scenes. I still wouldn't trade my time spent dancing for anything...

Good write, love! Miss ya!

Emily Wierenga said...

ahh, well done brian. thank you!

lori mcclure said...

I'm sorry about your FIL. Will be praying. I don't know what is going on with me because every post I read is making me cry tonight, but this was good, Brian. Really good. I love that words never seem to elude you. You're kind of a constant out here in the internet world, and there's a strange sense of comfort in the reliability of other people. So, thanks.

bluecottonmemory said...

Makes me wonder what we all put ourselves through for our dreams - praying that they find answers tomorrow for your dancer's father!

manicddaily said...

So interesting to think of you two dancing! It is a difficult profession for sure - the beauty has an artificial aspect that can come at a high price, but beautiful nonetheless. Interesting discussion of all this in poem.

Good luck with your father-in-law! k.

Cloudia said...

your opening gambit was transporting




Aloha from Honolulu,

Comfort Spiral
=^..^=

> < } } ( ° >

my heart's love songs said...

i remember going to the ballet and my granddaughter, at five years old, asking what was wrong with the ladies who were literally skin and bones...

few, if any of us, see ourselves as we truly are, don't you think?

sending positive thoughts for your father-in-law.

thanks for joining in at Poetry Jam!


dani

Mrsupole said...

Hi Brian,

So glad they found the source of the bleeding, he is still in my prayers. My uncle died from illness caused from Agent Orange, such a sad thing to have happened to our military.

My mom had problems with eating for fear of putting on a few pounds. I cannot remember a time in my life where she was not worried about her weight. I remember when I was a lot younger that if I had put on an extra pound then I would freak out and have to exercise more. I look back now and realize how skinny I was at that time and am also very thankful that I went on that SeeFood diet and just wish that it worked to help me lose some weight.

I think that dancers have to be a very driven group to have the ability to put up with all that they do. But one would think that with how much they exercise that they would need to eat a fair amount for the energy needed. I am totally not a dancer, wish I had at least a small amount of someone's drive and then maybe I would be more graceful. I sympathize with those who do not make it.

God bless.

the walking man said...

So Brian, did they think it was earthquakes when you landed en pointe?

happygirl said...

Yep dancers and diets (or fingers) tell a story of body hate/love.

william said...

bulimea, is a horrid thing Brian, your post called it very expertly, well done :)

mrs mediocrity said...

So many layers to this... sadness and questioning the motives and emotions that lie behind the things that drive us.

That last line was just perfect.

Poet Laundry said...

You describe the pressure from within and without so well...that push/pull of love/hate. Ugh...

ayala said...

Sad and moving write.

Vicki Lane said...

That totally sucks about your FIL. Damn Agent Orange and the Masters of war. Blesings to your FIL and your family.

Loredana Donovan said...

Eating disorders are such a serious issue in dancing as well as in modeling. So sad ... your poem brings the truth to light

my heart's love songs said...

i'm sorry you're separated from your family right now, Brian! thoughts and prayers with your FIL and all the family.

this is stunningly BRILLIANT! one of your best EVER and def one of my favorites! LOVE your sound effects.

an amazing write to the prompt!


d

Zuzana said...

Sorry to hera about your FIL - is that Father in Law? I hope he will get better. And I find true stories about life to be the most appealing, to know that some people fight and struggle, just like the rest of us, or if not more - and how they manage to overcome problems.
xoxo

Raven said...

I am glad that he is doing better. I am sorry for his suffering. Especially at the hands of war. Vietnam Veterans (my generation) are my heroes. Please when you see him thank him for his service from a stranger.

Syd said...

Does your FIL have esophageal varices? It sounds like what my FIL has. He would pass blood and the source was determined to be the rupturing of vessels in the esophagus. He has been much better since being on medication to help his liver.

Mary Mansfield said...

Wow, a powerful poem here, Brian, on an issue that sadly affects too many young women. A strong statement indeed.