“If My Body Was A Poem” – Maddie Godfrey

If My Body Was A Poem

if my body was a poem it would be, short

would laugh too loud, hold the microphone too close

if my body was a poem,

the audience would not be still

would writhe and jive and shake and break,

would shudder


if my body was a poem

it would be, experimental

not quite sure where each stanza ends

because ends are too definite

and my body only knows flow,

does not stop start


no, my body is an express train

and so it would express

and be expressive all the same

but would never get to a point


if my body was a poem

it would not have any points

some bones protrude but smooth skin

smooth’s over any sharp spears


if my body was a poem,

it would be painted by privilege

shaped by social class

imbued with 50 shades of sexism


if my body was a poem,

it would not growl at the audience

or hold any weapons

it has already seen too many wars


if my body was a poem,

there would be moments of silence

days where the duvet is its only companion


if my body was a poem,

it would lie less

words more honest than gendered growths that mark my chest

and this waist is wasted under big shirts

that hide the best parts

if my body was a poem

I could cut out all the parts I don’t like

edit away the awkward, the clumsy, the bits that bang door frames


if my body was a poem

I’d probably be more proud of it


I use to put this body on a stage every night,

but I never shared more than what it looked like


how the frame sings in cracks and creaks

speaks louder than parties on saturday night streets

it is the treehouse of my childhood

the used car of my adolescence

the rocking chair of my old age

it is both a vessel and an essence


and so, maybe my body is already a poem

it shares stories with my mouth sealed

introduces itself before I get the chance

my body is the first line of dialogue

and it is dying to meet you,

my body knows twirl, knows torture, knows twerk

it is equally my best and my worst work

my physicality is free verse, that refuses to behave

in the end, it is the poem I’ll still be writing from my grave


©  Maddie Godfrey


Maddie Godfrey is an Australian-bred poet currently living in London. She is enthusiastic about glitter, the colour purple and veggie burritos. Maddie is the current Western Australian poetry slam champion, and has also won slams in London, Cambridge and Oxford. Over the last year she has performed at the Sydney Opera House, co-written a stage show, and participated in the Women of the World Poetry Slam and festival in Brooklyn, New York. Off stage, Maddie’s work has been published on feminist websites, on a University poster, in anthologies and as part of a YouTube series. More of her writing can be found at www.facebook.com/maddiegodfreypoet

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