Nature Is Therapy

I was in the hospital courtyard collecting fallen leaves, and comparing their colors to a blackout poem bit I had just finished, when another patient asked what I was doing.

“Required therapy”, I told her without looking up from my work.

She watched me for a few seconds, then said, “You pick leaves for therapy?”

“Sure,” I mumbled. My needed therapy involves any activity that exercises my fingers, wrists, shoulders, posture, eye-hand coordination… I should’ve said that to her, but I wanted to find the perfect leaves before having to go to my next appointment, and she was distracting me.

I sort of wanted to get rid of her quickly. But she was as persistent as I was exasperated. In the end, showing her what I meant as I did it took less time than giving her the slip. This is how I explained it to her (without the glorious illustrations):

To me, therapy is anything that rehabilitates, heals and entertains mind, body and spirit. The act of coloring a page can be soothing, even mind-healing (depending what one is coloring), but this activity alone doesn’t offer much physical exercise. This is the reason why the presentation of my blackout and handwritten poetry has become more elaborate—I walk the woods (or hospital courtyards *grins*) to collect materials, then use specific movements to complete each piece, while imagining the parts as a whole.

Some might not think of stitching or ripping paper by hand as very complex work, but when the hands doing the ripping and stitching are half-numb, well… complexity joins the party whether one wants it or not. The controlled movements require patience and dedication. And this is just the mechanics, the real mind-healing (for me) is shaping the visual piece in a way that it doesn’t just echo the words, but also amplifies the message.

Take the following piece, as an example (it includes some of the leaves I collected that day… while I spoke to the woman):

I used a quote I shared on Instagram, from “The Pretty Corpses of Flowers”. The words are handwritten on a recycled coffee filter. The brown marker I used to blackout the poem bit made me think of autumn… So, I gathered leaves to match that feeling, nature that says to me that Healing doesn’t always come in bright colors or smooth textures.

Can your eyes feel the roughness of the paper? The wrinkles that seem to chant, “I’ve been around… brewed coffee that made someone happy… and I’m still going strong”?

Can you appreciate the beauty of the blemishes that make these leaves unique?

It’s not just the exercising of hands with coloring and stitching and ripping of paper, or the soothing of mind by finding bits of life within living poetry, prose, leaf… It’s all of it, dancing together. It’s the soul healing flesh and bone with art that feeds hearts through the eyeballs. It’s human daring denying pain the chance to shroud life with ugliness. It’s my Self baring her teeth, naturally… and delighting every time others join in the baring.

What about you, my Wicked Luvs? What’s your therapy? How do you dance with it?

Angel or Monster, or Both

Our sweet (and deadly) Rommy invited us to play with angels and monsters and poetry. I was all for it, of course. I mean, she quoted the greats (Buffy, Psycho) to remind the world that “I’m the thing monsters have nightmares about”, that “We all go a little mad sometimes.” So, here is my poem *wild giggles and delicious cackles*.

.
Choose to be
angel or monster, or both—
be a miracle, or The Thing
nightmares run screaming from.

Go a bit mad, break bones
to soul music that inspires
wise children and old fools
to tolerate tamed liberals
and life-drunk poets.

Be a rebel—
love Star Trek and Star Wars
equally (if it makes you happy),
be the queerest adventurous
conservatively wild spirit:

different is beautiful,
identical is gorgeous,
choice is best…

…choose to be.

.
the wee notes…
– Linked to the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads ~ Of Angels and Monsters, hosted by our Rommy dearest. She asked us to choose a quote and create a poem. But since I was feeling extra rebellious, I used four of the given quotes… and threw one of my blackouts into the mix (yeah, I am bad to the bone):
“I’m the thing monsters have nightmares about.” ~ Buffy the Vampire Slayer
“‘Listen to them, the children of the night. What music they make!’” ~ Dracula
“One may tolerate a world of demons for the sake of an angel.” ~ Doctor Who
“We all go a little mad sometimes.” ~ Psycho
– While proofreading this mildly wild piece, I noticed the phrase “the thing”, thought of the movie by the same name, and felt the urge to capitalize the words. Seriously, no serious poem would ever be complete without Star Trek, Star Wars and The Thing in it. This has been science fictionally proven, seriously.