Postcards to the Body Politic By Margo Berdeshevsky

Listen toPostcards To The Body Politic_by Margo Berdeshevsky



But there’s more. First, I cannot write dear. I cannot call you dear. I am too deeply, deeply  — and I have never believed in. Before. But now so much less. No. So much less. Dear illusion of dear. Dear I-could-not-write. You will not mind. You do not love.

Dear body. Dear if-my-right-hand. Dear how can you love only your own soul? Dear why would you feed only one eye? Not the hand. Not the belly. How can you love the head, not skin, not the water?

You make me cry. You make me sadder than women, sadder than men, even sadder than your —No. You, and your guns. Do you even love your hands? Can you love your mind? Body dangerous. I try to call you dear. Enraged at your arms, enraged at your desire, enraged at your eyes. If I am too angry to love you — what, what will we do?


If a body meet a body. Where the body of the state falls. Or, because what not-to-be-trusted gods— refuse to fall.    …twirling on the horse, blowing kissesindefinitely into the grey future, and if this entertainment were to continue. Body politic: How can I trust you? Fall. Because, I say: blind. Because the vulture can. Because the words of my mouth. Because if my hand offend me. Because if my diseased or broken—   needs no teaching.    All night, only the fallen wind.    A  breeze that needs no visa. A country to not belong to. Because I want — not to die. Because—us— or not at all. You make me cry.


Just ahead of sleep. Soul to child-flesh on her sheet—like that frighten-me drop from—  as if by falling—  to reach the world. If the body meet a body. Teach me blood, and water. Every shell.   Nested voices, I say, kicking open. Torn, from too much believing—  cut out my swelling tongue. If I torture. If my right hand offend. Or my left. If my peace-cell be broken—  let me be no human. Heartbeat. And skeleton. Please. Please. Teach me.


If some child of an un-ended time—    is also my “I.” If some deviate boy of an evil-flower-mind. If savage-souled, and peace-broken.   Blowing kisses—Whip-cracking boss twirling on the horse—  Tireless spectators by a merciless—  A tottering mount in front of—  Round and round the ring on—  If some frail consumptive equestrienne were— 1   Some god, I say: If no such country. If ashamed. If I choose to belong to none. Because the wind needs no passport. Wants none. Some god, I say: Don’t you know an old or a new tongue? Can’t you teach me a country that cannot lie? Bruised lips—un-sewn: what nest of voices sings in its shell in the groaning birch between thorn trees?


To be  saying—  if you do not love me I shall not be loved
   if I do not love you I shall not love. 2   To be the left-hand cupped with “please” or belly, or spleen, or hope-hungry jealous of all the good I’m not  —stopped.  Just ahead of sleep, to child-flesh on her sheet—  like that frighten-me drop from soul  as if by falling—  to reach the world and body     Or

With so much need. With such desire.


1 Franz Kafka/ In The Gallery
Samuel Beckett/ Cascando


  1. Because poetry should consume and burn, because a great poem is and is and is again
    because I am what I hear and becoming
    because you are an endless dialogue of myself
    and dear and dear, those dears I can no longer utter
    because some poets are a new compass
    one wrought in starlight
    not mental
    all this and I keep listening

    Thank you Margo. Can I breathe now?

    • Dear Lois, Yes, DO breathe. The startling thing is–that we can cry, and still breathe at the same time. Even when the subject is the body dangerous. Even when the subject insists: our country’s obsession with …but there’s more. Thank you for caring.
      In solidarity, margo

  2. I have been speechless.
    The vote yesterday, nay, the failure
    yesterday, and the marathon before
    and Minnesota and Aurora…
    and Iraq before (and before) and Afghanistan before (and before)
    and the letters, bastardized castor beans,
    and drones drones drones and
    guns guns guns
    kids, teachers, preachers, seekers, vids, moving pictures show
    scary days, scary weeks, scary months, scary years
    in deed…


  3. Margo, this leaves so much room for all of us to fill in those gaps and for me it also become more difficult to express those ‘dear loved ones….’ condolences even to those who truly are dear to us, let alone those we do not know. Yet we feel them over and over again. I remember Columbine brought out such schisms in our community of faithful ones enraged at the crosses — not because crosses were put up for the victims, but because none were put up for the two boys. And it just keeps coming, all of these polarized bodies each claiming to have a better hand. So your post card genre gives us all room to breathe and invoke our own gods to get down and do something about who we seem to be becoming. Wants me to get on that wind that needs no passport — that breeze that needs no visa. Thank you, Margo, for this other way of thinking — being.

  4. Margo–As Lois said, “Can I breathe now?” Such urgency, and such beautiful, important words. Thanks for keeping the light burning in this often dank cave of now.

    • As the poet, Ursula LeGuin wrote in her “American Wars,” :”Like the topaz in the toad’s head/ the comfort in the terrible histories/ was up front, easy to find:/ once upon a time, in a kingdom far away… ”

      But we are, yes, Melissa, in the often dank cave of the now. And we require one another’s words, and visions, and lights, more than ever, so I hope, and believe. My many thanks to you who’ve been writing here, and hearing, and seeing the intention in this work.

  5. Penelope says:

    There is so much in this. I am glad I finally took the time to look again. The computer is not my form of reading. But I remembered and went back and looked. Heard not only Margo’s voice but the Beckett that I only appreciate now. Wonderful writing Margo: intimate. catching the side of fear and putting words to it.

  6. How right you are, Margo. Thanks for being the light!

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