Art, Body Acceptance, Creative Nonfiction, Memoir, Mental Health, Prose

My Eternal Creative Space

I am working with an art therapy book geared toward body acceptance and the first art prompt was to depict our ideal creative space. I think the idea was to draw what houseplants and implements and draperies we would like in our art room, but this is what I came out with instead. It may not be a still life style depiction of what my ideal creativity space would look like–I would never be able to realistically draw a grand piano, an ancient viola, stacks and stacks of sheet music, an art table big enough to lie down on, cement floor to make messes easier to be messy, a photo studio, a recording studio, a big sink, every brush and paint and crayon and color and implement known to man, redwood tall shelves of books, red velvet chairs, open atlases mapping out all the adventures I’ve had and am yet to have, and above it all, the ceiling painted with the zodiac so I have a mapped out sky and eternally turning fate overhead always–I may not be able to realistically draw any of that, but what I did come up with accurately represents what would be going on in that space in the ether, among all that glorious stuff while the art was happening. There would be the spirit of Mercury, planet and god, and a Valentine from him charged electric positive and negative. There would be wild hair–my hair–probably red and black paint in my wild white hair. There would be me looking through my glasses, their dark frame the slightly warped symbol for infinity. My poodle, blue in this drawing for tranquility, would be there nosing my hands across the page in smarter directions than I would have ever thought of on my own. The numbers 12 and 21 would likely pop up everywhere, mysteriously as they do in every corner of my life already. The technological universe is coded on 0 and 1. My little universe is 1 and 2. There is eternity everywhere! The ouroboros, the dense spiral in Mercury’s head, the glasses… And yellow sunny swirls all over and underneath because this is Apollon and the Muses’ space as much as, if not more than mine. And finally, a treble clef because, in this space, everything sings.

-M. Ashley

Formal Verse, Humor Poem, Memoir Poem, Poetry

Fruiting Body

Apple, pear, banana, orange, I
Used to be, profoundly, a pear—all
Ass and belly. My thighs were righteous
Too. Not that my boobs were small, per se,
Just smaller than the juicy bottom.

But I lost the weight—all the weight—and
More—and became ingloriously
An un-curved banana. I didn’t even
Know women could be bananas. That
Wasn’t ever on my lifelong, plus-
Sized, orange shaped radar. But there an
Inglorious banana was I
Standing at the mirror, bemoaning
My, let’s call them, “sugar spots.” My poor,
Pear peel, made for curves, never quite fit
The banana right, and was far too
Thin skinned for the picking. Picking and
Picking. Constantly picking. My best

Friend said that, skinny as I was, I
Resembled more an apple on a
Toothpick, (you see I have this giant
Melon head). She’s not that sour. I asked
Her in advance to tell me when my
Apple—melon—toothpick—weirdly-un-
healthy-looking-fresh-fruit-hors-d’oeuvre
Situation got out of hand. I

Rejected the banana. Or I
Should say the part of me that wakes up
At 1:30 every morning and
Eats guilty lemon Oreos in
The come-hither glow of an open
Refrigerator rejects the damn
Banana. The part of me that thinks—

The part that guilts innocent lemon
Oreos—dug her heels in, clung tight
To the un-curviness of it all,
The good clothes, the Big Why, fitting
My flat ass into tight spaces for
once, and managed to think, pick, fret, pick,
constantly picking—pick its way to
Gaining back a third of what I lost.

I did not become a pear again.
I became a fatter banana.

Peace unto the fatter banana.
My melon head is, again, to scale.
Let lemon Oreos be pardoned.
Let me slip comfortably into my
New, thicker peel. Let me savor all
My sugar spots. Let me go un-picked.

-M.