Monday, June 20, 2011

my body with your body

i like my body when it is with your
body. It is so quite new a thing.
Muscles better and nerves more.
i like your body. i like what it does,
i like its hows. i like to feel the spine
of your body and its bones, and the trembling
-firm-smooth ness and which i will
again and again and again
kiss, i like kissing this and that of you,
i like, slowly stroking the, shocking fuzz
of your electric fur, and what-is-it comes
over parting flesh . . . . And eyes big love-crumbs,

and possibly i like the thrill

of under me you so quite new

And it’s not just sex… (I like e.e. cummings. If you think he's immature or a purveyor of cheap poetical tricks, well, screw you, pal. By which I mean, I think that's probably true, but I like him anyway.)

One way the experience of the size of my Body can begin to become strange and therefore to reveal itself, is to consider our Bodies with other people’s Bodies – or, I suppose, we could consider our Bodies with animal Bodies of any sort, or even with inanimate things. Possibly my pure subjectivity, the subject-I as zero-point of orientation, is unavailable to you – possibly we cannot share experience immediately. And possibly, therefore, how my Body feels for me is unavailable to you. It does not follow that my Body remains unchanged in the presence of your Body – and I don’t mean to refer to physiological or biological changes, but changes precisely as a Body, that is, as a lived-Body, as my-Body-for-me. As cummings shows us, our Bodies become new with one another.

Setting aside all the very stimulating possibilities for exploration of this topic that this introduction offers, since I’m inquiring about how big my Body is, I’ll look just at my Body’s size with another’s. You are shorter than me by several inches. That’s just how it is. Being with your Body, my Body is newly tall, stretching and extending, as though you urge me to reach just by being there with me. As I’ve said before, this is a feeling of my Body that I find pleasant and desirable. It is a particular kind of stretching that my Body undergoes – lacking tension, stretching through unraveling or unwinding, "uncoiling," "unfurling."

With you just now, I am just barely lighter, less dense, my mass more diffuse, again pleasantly, and also like being stretched, stretched upward. I want to be able to say what about this experience is affective or emotional and what is physical or relational. I don't feel that my longer, lighter Body-experience is due just to you "sweeping me off my feet." My experience is of a re-orientation to the world through your presence near me, a lightening and lengthening you and I effect in my Body through our close proximity or contact.

Now sitting in another room, that reaching urge is missing, and my Body settles lower into place. Or, walking away following an embrace, I feel my Body shrink to “normal” size.

(I'm going to adopt the usage of Husserl's translators and refer to the animate, living body with the capitalized Body. This is their translation of Husserl's Leib, which distinguishes a quickened body from a merely physical body, or K├Ârper. Too bad we only have one word in English. I hope the capitalization isn't too annoying. Obviously, cummings should have used the capital B as well, but he was a bastard, and also didn't capitalize much. Poets rarely do, if you think about it. Capitalize, that is. You know, on their poems. Cuz, you know.... poems.... uh....)

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