Sittin’ on a pin, too tired to get up

                                                                                                                     Johnny Watson


I’m standing, after lying on the floor. My head is way up, heart exposed. No wonder I carry my chin and shoulders forward; slam my words forward. This, I think protects my raw beating heart.


When my brother and I would tell my dad to stand straight he’d salute, throw his shoulders back, “Yes sir, general sir!”  In his old age osteoporosis caves his chest inward, so much that the ICU nurse asks us, “Is this natural or part of the car accident?”


When I push myself to stand I feel queasy. It’s the same feeling as when the breath turns around and becomes the inhale or it’s like being so hot or having to pee so badly. Like how the edge of the sunburn hurts more than the whole burn. Moving to change the situation would help.  But I can’t imagine moving. The radio is droning on and on. I realize it’s too much for my ears, but there is a moment of this small suffering before running to turn it off.


Of course, I can’t stay here in the exhale. I can’t stay on the ground.


Every morning I wake and the general wash of day feels full of possibilities. What project will happen here. I move quickly this morning, as my neighbors do, I lug the hose around, walk with the dogs, avoiding the edges of this to that. During the heat, I scrub a bristle brush around the sink edges while listening to Science Friday.


When my students and friends told me, they had standing desks I thought, all desks are standing desks. The desk stands. The person sits. Then I realized oh, it’s from the point of view of the person, not the desk. Why would anyone choose to stand at a desk, unless they were a baker, or building a birdhouse?


Once I stand, I feel the nausea. I go back down and try again. Dancers know this if standing is too soon. We crumple low to hug the floor and try to rise differently. I can jump around, or swing the pelvis or turn, or roll the head back down, fling an arm up, shout something. Maybe shout as Sylvia Plath did, “I’d rather be horizonal!” (except she probably whispered it).


From “stand” comes the word, Stanza. The clump of lines, set off by itself, stands alone relative to the other clumps of language before and after. You could pick the stanza off the ground; you could scrape it off with the edge of a knife and it would be its own bit of itself.


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