Where do you hide your bodies?

TRIGGER WARNING: talks about death

I have written poetry since I was around 14, coinciding with the onset of puberty and teenage angst. I have a picture of myself I drew sitting at a dressing table, with the ‘real me’ in colour and the reflection in black and white, behind bars. I think I felt stifled by my parents who were quite strict and wouldn’t let me do whatever I wanted to do, and to “live my life”. I can’t remember what awful restrictions my parents were putting on me; though when I was a bit older these included not being allowed to go to all-night parties and not to get in cars if the driver had been drinking (almost being like in jail!)

I still write poetry, although I mostly write spoken word poetry, as I like acting. I don’t write poetry by sitting down at a computer and thinking of stuff; I almost always get inspired when walking or running or hiking (I am ADHD and think way better when active). When I am sitting (standing) at my desk, I am constantly distracted (shiny things! I just randomly ordered an Ostrich Pillow…it’s so cool!)

So, one day, I was walking on the West Canungra Creek Circuit at Lamington National Park (which I love and which is tragically closed, as much of the area has been burned, in wildfires exacerbated by climate change—don’t get me started, climate change is one of my special interests, but is not the subject of this post), and I was going to be all mindful and one with nature and all that. Well, this was a very wet year, and the park was infested by trillions of leeches. I HATE leeches, although I admit, this flooding experience cured me of the phobia. There were leeches everywhere, in the trees, on the grass, in the bushes, and they rained down on me. Now, mass bodily invasion by leeches is not very good for mindfulness, although you are definitely in the moment, so I suddenly decided to psychoanalyse myself (which I do regularly, although probably not very successfully).

I had this blinding realisation that I hate rejection. Well, duh—this coming from a person who refuses to read journal reviewer comments for months and was notorious for ghosting old boyfriends when it seemed like they were about to dump her (given that I was only attracted to completely unsuitable men, like musos, bikies, etc. the archetypical “bad boys”, I was frequently dumped). So, I started writing this poem, and perhaps due to blood loss from leech bites, I was associating rejection with death and burials. Well, I am sort of obsessed with death, being anxious and all. Also, I must add, the 3rd Ex and I have a long-standing joke about ‘body hiding spots, because when hiking, I often say, “ooh that would be a good place to hide a body!” I may add, I am a very gentle soul and have no murderous tendencies! I just read a lot of crime novels.

Anyway, given the horrible weather and plague of leeches, I was alone on the track, and when I write poetry, I also “write it aloud”, repeating lines to myself until they sound good. I only put them on to paper when I get back to my computer. I was particularly impressed with one line, which I kept repeating aloud to myself (and I have very good voice projection). when all of a sudden, I encountered some other hikers! A young couple, who looked extremely startled. I suppose, when you are out, having a lovely hike and looking at beautiful waterfalls, to encounter a strange middle-aged woman talking out loud about hiding bodies could be viewed as somewhat disturbing! So, here’s the poem.

Link on SoundCloud

Where do you hide your bodies?

by Heather Shearer, 30 October 2016

Where do you hide your bodies?
I keep mine in a deep dark cave
So secret that not even I know its location,
I can find it only in dreams and rituals;
It’s encircled by a vast forest of thorns
And if some handsome prince should stumble through
He’d find no sleeping beauty, only death;
And its mouth is stopped tight, with a heavy stone,
For fear not of resurrection, but of revenant,
And incense burns and burns against the stench.

This tomb is no disused mineshaft,
With impulsive killings of passion and anger,
With bodies tumbled and neglected.
No, this crypt is one of order, of logic and control.
Here is no rending of garments or tearing of hair.
These bodies were lulled into quietude
Fed soporific drugs and gentle lies
So they barely felt the obsidian blade
As it slipped into the willing heart.

Some are covered only with the finest linen-clothes,
A rejected article or a casual ghosting;
Yet others are buried deeper still,
Bound with shackles and fetters of iron,
Smothered, like Russian dolls, in layer
Upon layer; of linen, of canvas,
Of wood and of granite; and each one
Bearing a gilded pharaonic smile.
These are the most hidden, yet purest in their rot.

The abandonment at the far cruel school,
Little girl faces masking the wolves beneath,
And the witch women offering poisoned candy.
Running, running, behind the bitter father,
Learning his angry lessons, themselves earned in pain,
“I’m gonna be like you, dad, you know I’m gonna be like you.”
And you, oh you, leaving me, open and helpless,
Staked to the rock with adamanite chains,
While others clamoured for your heart.
Every body a rejection, itself rejected.

‘Call for the mourning women, that they may come,
Send for the wailing women, that they may come’
To roll aside the stone from the sepulchre
And remove each body, with care and sacrament,
Slowly unwrap the layers of tainted shroud
Until every sacrifice lies revealed, and  
Until every rotten remain is exposed
Under the white hot flame of the midday sun.

Lay out all your bodies on a high rock ledge,
Let the Rogyapas wield their breaking tools,
Whilst the juniper smoke burns, and call
For the vultures to feast on the flesh;
Until only the pure white bones are buried in the sky.
One with the mountains and the sun,
One with the wind and the stones,
One with the flowers and one with the freedom.

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