Posts Tagged ‘nakedness’

Taking It All Off

In order to swim, one takes off all one’s clothes—in order to aspire to the truth, one must undress in a far more inward sense, divest oneself of all one’s inward clothes, of thoughts, conceptions, selfishness, etc., before one is sufficiently naked.

   —Søren Kierkegaard

And so I attempt to slip out

of the shirt of defensiveness,

slip off the belt of shame.

I wriggle against the jeans

of righteousness and tug

off the socks of distrust.

It’s scary to take it all off,

but everything else feels too tight

these days, and damn,

I just want the truth so bad,

want to wear it like my own skin,

want to step into it like slippers

I will never take off, want to

wear it like boots that will

carry me over any terrain,

want to wear it like

an eternal perfume—

something I am sure is there

even with my eyes closed,

even in the dark.

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Today I can see how I wear it

like a velvet dress, the dream


of wanting to be somebody.

It’s so easy to forget I am wearing it.


Because it is lovely. Because

it feels good. But life


hands me a hanger and asks me

to take off the dress


and move naked today

through my inner rooms.


It’s not as if anyone else can see,

but I notice, as I must,


how much easier it is now to know

the self as sunrise, as apple seed,


as cinnamon, as you.

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inspired by Erik Satie, Gnossienne 1



may everything I think I know

about myself slip to the floor—

straight jacket, hair shirt, corset—

may whatever remains stay naked,

unable to don even cashmere, even silk

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quickly now it ravels,
this garment of everything
I thought I knew

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I give you bread.
You no longer eat wheat.
You give me a shirt.
There’s a small grease stain.
We both laugh. Neither
of us bothered to wrap.
Tonight I wear the shirt
and feel pretty.
Tonight you eat the bread
and it tastes like buttered love.
I keep thinking of how
we walked today,
the snow so deep, the air
so warm, the sky as clear,
as beautiful as your face
when all the masks come off.

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