Knife-walkers

Girl with Balloon or There is Always Hope, original mural by graffiti artist Banksy (2002) on Waterloo Bridge in London’s South Bank; photo Dominic Robinson, 2004

writers are knife-walkers
we walk to make the final cut
where the blade
ruptures the heart

surgical artists dissecting ourselves
in the Circus Maximus
for the amusement of the gods
in their curtained prosceniums

they, eviscerating each other,
we rip ourselves up to see the truth
in fictional lives stitched up later
as scarred tissues of lies

only to find we’re not hopelessly alone
that our arteries flow into one another
through artful bridges of aqueducts
leading one to another’s aortas

in ancient tides and ocean swells,
each as wombs incubating embryonic
lives of who we are meant to be
where the bone meets the marrow.

Today Tricia Sankey guest hosts at dVerse Poetics, and she challenge us with writing about risk. Inspired by Tricia's own poem, well, writing poetry is a risk for me, but as I tried to say, one well worth taking when it's done in community like the poets at dVerse. Thanks to one and all.

53 thoughts on “Knife-walkers

  1. ‘we walk to make the final cut
    where the blade
    ruptures the heart’

    – oh yes, we do! I love the Roman imagery here. And how, in the end, for all the brutality, it turns out we are not alone but all flowing rivers of blood together 🙂

    Like

    1. Björn,
      Love that analogy of diving. The hope is sure the more known the waters that the destination is worth the risk. Thank you so much for those enlightening thoughts.
      pax,
      dora

      Like

    1. Lisa,
      When I was searching for a picture for the post, I was struck by the Banksy mural for that very reason. Writing may be a lonely process, even painful, but the impetus is one of hope, a shared hope in community. Thanks for your thoughtful comments.
      pax,
      dora

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh my GOD, Dora, I was stunned throughout this piece. Your opener grabbed me and shook me:

    “writers are knife-walkers
    we walk to make the final cut
    where the blade
    ruptures the heart”

    I feel like this describes the pain in writing, but we do it as catharsis as there’s no greater risk than bottling ourselves or self expression up. You also show that we are more similar than we initially believe, that writing and writers provide a connection that resonates with others. We don’t have to share the burden alone when there are people who can understand us.

    Just my thoughts on this piece. I also love how you delve into writers laying it all to see; it is naked, vulnerable, and honest, and to the gods, I bet that is entertaining. Beautifully written and haunting, I’m still in awe.

    Like

    1. Lucy,
      Thank you so very much! I appreciate the connections you made with your own experience as a writer (an amazing one!) I hesitated at first to use the visceral imagery (literally visceral) but you’re right, there is catharsis and also a painful vulnerability involved. Why deny it?
      pax,
      dora

      Liked by 1 person

  3. sanaarizvi

    Love this especially; “only to find we’re not hopelessly alone that our arteries flow into one another through artful bridges of aqueducts leading one to another’s aortas.” Deep and profound write 💝💝

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  4. Wow, such powerful lines in here, where to begin? I think knife-walkers is a fitting term, it takes talent to do that, don’t you know!? 😊 I like how this then flows into dissection and then, strangely enough, unity as “our arteries flow into one another through artful bridges of aqueducts leading one to another’s aortas” – also the closing image “where bone meets the marrow” is so visceral. So happy the prompt inspired such lines today! 👏👏

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    1. Tricia,
      Yours was a fantastic prompt, able to be addressed in so many different ways. I took inspiration from your take on it, and I’m all the more happy for that reason that you liked it! Thank you so much!
      pax,
      Dora

      Liked by 1 person

  5. The idea of writing as a communal activity struck me afresh in the light of your words. It’s fascinating how we are all interconnected even when inspired by so many different muses.
    Pax
    Penny

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    1. Penny,
      Amazing, isn’t it? Most of the time we are blanks to each other. But in creating, we reveal ourselves in ways we couldn’t otherwise. A risk, because we don’t know how people will react. And yet worth it, because sometimes it forms a common connection.
      pax,
      dora

      Like

  6. Stunning opening line with: writers are knife-walkers.

    This poem is gorgeous and I love how when we opened up, we find kinship with others. Hopefully we lift up each other as you wrote beautifully in this part:

    only to find we’re not hopelessly alone
    that our arteries flow into one another
    through artful bridges of aqueducts
    leading one to another’s aortas

    Like

  7. that our arteries flow into one another
    through artful bridges of aqueducts
    leading one to another’s aortas

    Love it Dora! How beautifully you weaved your words to match/relate to the graffiti by artist Banksy on the Waterloo Bridge.

    Hank

    Like

    1. Helen,
      I know what you mean! As I get older (and older) my brain needs a workout as much as my heart muscle. Thank you for your generous comments.
      pax,
      dora

      Like

  8. our arteries flow into one another
    through artful bridges of aqueducts
    leading one to another’s aortas

    Dora… I can’t find an emoji for “swoon”, but I wish there was so that I could copy-paste it into this comment of mine!


    David

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  9. You have some good thoughts on the risk of writing expressed very uniquely. I don’t always see it so dangerously, but then I think back on times when I was terrified to share what I wrote with anyone.

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    1. Susan,
      You never know how much of yourself you’re revealing when writing, and you don’t know whether your audience will be appalled at what they see, rightly or wrongly, but at some point you have to take a risk. Thank you so much for your comments!
      pax,
      dora

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We tend to be a very civil community. Maybe because we leave the outside world alone inasmuch as it allows us to? And sometimes when the positive isn’t forthcoming, it’s a mercy to be ignored.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. This is really a wonderful poem Dora! Your metaphors are exceptional. Ripping up our own hearts so we can share our life blood (words) with the heart of others who are doing the same. I love it.
    dwight

    Like

  11. “writers are knife-walkers
    we walk to make the final cut
    where the blade
    ruptures the heart”

    God I love this. The brutality of this opening is perfection! Our words are our blood – our lifeforce we willing cut open time and time again thralls to own vampiric needs to share what’s within.

    Like

  12. cathartic yet vulnerable, well worth the risk!

    So many profound and powerful images here but the ones that resonated deepest
    “through artful bridges of aqueducts
    leading one to another’s aortas”

    Like

  13. “only to find we’re not hopelessly alone
    that our arteries flow into one another
    through artful bridges of aqueducts
    leading one to another’s aortas”

    yep, this good (cause you’ve been drink poet’s blood, and that’ll do it every time) love this dora

    Like

  14. You write the truth Dora, We share the blood of creativity, by sharing we stimulate and empower each other. We can avoid the cuts and scars of working in conflict with isolation.

    Like

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