Christine de Pizan was a late medieval author who challenged the stereotypes prevalent in the late medieval culture. As a poet, she was well known and highly regarded; and is considered Europe’s first professional woman writer. She was married at 15, widowed 10 years later and wrote to support herself and her three children.  Her most famous book, the Book of the City of Ladies features three allegorical foremothers: Reason, Justice, and Rectitude. As a totally unprofessional woman writer – I just wanted to say thanks.

“say good bye to the cities you’ve always known”

she says to you
in the deep blue dawn
your body waking to her body waking
just as it has done these last three mornings

and with heady, undeserved intimacy
you inhale the smell of her breath
and her body on your skin and your fingers
and every respiration is insanity
the delicious blending
of the chemical
to the physical,
as inside you

your diaphragm
your pleura
your intercostals
your ribs
expand and contract
toying with the pheromonal belief
that you might in fact stop breathing
that she smells that good

“I’m not getting all hippy on you,
I don’t mean that the jungle is going to rise up”
the vines and the leaves and the roots and rotting
choking back through the sclerotic arterials of the roads
“I don’t believe in that shit,
concrete is here to stay –
I just mean, we should go”

and then she blinks
slowly, her lashes carving the inches
only between your face and her face
her left cheek full and soft as she lies
on your pillows
and with all the serenity of a Hindu cow
she repeats the statement
“I just mean, we should go”
and because there is no good reason to say yes
there is no good reason to say no
you don’t know her
you don’t love her
you don’t own her
you don’t have her
and the sheer suburban banality
of you meeting her
and she meeting you
is so fatiguingly dull,
it’s like you’ve always known
in fact, she is the skin
you had been waiting to stretch
and though you are not a romantic soul
for all of that shit is just shit
and you are a person of reason
and cause and explanation and purpose
of logic and all of the anti-God
you look at her
in the deep blue dawn
her body waking to your body waking
and you know that you will unfold
like an origami crane
your every crease and score and fold
unleafing, unfurling, blooming
and then ceding to her smoothing hand
until you are just a blank sheet of paper
and you say “yes

we should just go”.

Categorized as musing

By Eleanor Jackson

Eleanor Jackson is a Filipino Australian poet, performer, arts producer, cyclist, writer, gal about town, feminist, freewheeler, and friend.

1 comment

  1. Rather more English, metaphysical than Italian, Medieval I think; although eyebrows probably wouldn’t carve back then.

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