“Rocking” by Claire Blotter

Claire Blotter


I was married, and I was divorced.
I had three babies. I never had kids.
I never had sex. I had sex.
It seemed I never had sex,
that I was never divorced
nor even married.
It seemed that the three babies
who grew to adults
were never really mine.
I never “had” them, and
the sex it seemed someone else
had, when I remember it now.

I was never married nor divorced
nor did I have any children.
I never thought to have them or
simply never had them.
I had plenty of sex though
and sometimes, sometimes
simultaneously, I had love, too,
that frightened me, that I pushed
away as if it were a dark alley
rather than a garden of light.
But sometimes I allowed a few
white gold strands to pierce
the dark burnt blotches
of my heart, replace dried
branches of pale pink geraniums
with life. Yes, love restored me,
and coupled with sex, made me laugh
till my whole body shook.

Looking back, I was a man once, then
a woman, then a man, and a woman again.
I came simultaneously as myself, laughing.
Was this tantric, shape-shifting—
or shifting gender identification?
No, I was the darkness of my heart once,
then great rocking laughter of light.
I was the baby and the mother
at the same time.

from Rattle #51, Spring 2016
Tribute to Feminist Poets


Claire Blotter: “I have considered myself a feminist poet since teaching Feminist Journal Writing in the Women Studies Department at San Francisco State University in the mid-’80s. I experiment with non-hierarchical forms and adapt Gertrude Stein’s non-linear use of repetition and the continuous present. Rhythm, sound and a deep connection to the earth are all important elements of my work. Finally, I use the dash as Dickinson did perhaps to show the possibility of many diverse realities at any given moment, a less fixed and certain punctuation than the standard period.”

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