Mind-Body Problem

Filed Under (Acceptance, Poetry, To Get To The Other Side) by Estee on 30-03-2010

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When I think of my youth I feel sorry not for myself

but for my body. It was so direct

and simple, so rational in its desires

wanting to be touched the way an otter

loves water, the way a giraffe

wants to amble the edge of the forest, nuzzling

the tender leaves at the tops of the trees. It seems

unfair, somehow, that my body had to suffer

because I, by which I mean my mind, was saddled

with certain unfortunate high-minded romantic notions

that made me tyrannize and patronize it

like a cruel medieval barn, or an ambitious

English-professor husband ashamed of his wife —

her love of sad movies, her budget casseroles

and regional vowels. Perhaps

my body would have liked to make some of our dates,

to come home at four in the morning and answer my scowl

with “None of your business!” Perhaps

it would have like more presents: silks, mascaras.

If we had had a more democratic arrangement

we might even have come, despite our different backgrounds,

to a grudging respect for each other, like Tony Curtis

and Sidney Poitier fleeing handcuffed together,

instead of the current curious shift of power

in which I find I am being reluctantly

dragged along by my body as though by some

swift and powerful dog. How eagerly

it plunges ahead, not stopping for anything,

as though it knows exactly where we are going.

—–
— poem by Katha Pollit (winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award)

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About Me


ESTÉE KLAR

I’m a PhD candidate at York University, Critical Disability Studies, with a multi-disciplinary background in the arts as a curator and writer. I am the Founder of The Autism Acceptance Project (www.taaproject.com), and an enamoured mother of my only son who lives with the autism label. I like to write about our journey, critical issues regarding autism in the area of human rights, law, and social justice, as well as reflexive practices in (auto)ethnographic writing about autism.