There is magic in decay

There is magic in decay
February is compost month.
I’m spending a lot of time sloughing off 2015 and fully entering 2016. I’m making fertile ground from last year’s waste. I’m still letting go, but things are starting to emerge, too: new ideas, new production, new energy.
I love talking about compost, as in my conversation with Amy on this month’s Pleasure Lab podcast, because it illuminates so much of the necessary but often disgust-inducing processes that bodies (and lives) go through. Remember that bumper sticker—"Throw it ‘away’? There is no ‘away.’" Now, I notice that waste bins in many places are labeled "recycling" and "landfill." I find something beautiful in the grotesque, in the unspeakable, in the unconscious. Don’t you?


By Dan Chelotti
There is magic in decay.
A dance to be done
For the rotting, the maggot strewn
Piles of flesh which pile
Upon the dung-ridden earth
And the damp that gathers
And rusts and defiles.
There is a bit of this
In even the most zoetic soul — 
The dancing child’s arms
Flailing to an old ska song
Conduct the day-old flies
Away to whatever rank
Native is closest. Just today
I was walking along the river
With my daughter in my backpack
And I opened my email
On my phone and Duffie
Had sent me a poem
Called “Compost.” I read it
To my little girl and started
To explain before I was three
Words in Selma started
Yelling, Daddy, Daddy, snake!
In the path was a snake,
Belly up and still nerve-twitching
The ghost of some passing
Bicycle or horse. Pretty, Selma said.
Yes, I said. And underneath my yes
Another yes, the yes to my body,
Just beginning to show signs
Of slack, and another, my grasping
In the dark for affirming flesh
That in turn says yes, yes
Let’s rot together but not until
We’ve drained what sap
Is left in these trees.
And I wake in the morning
And think of the coroner
Calling to ask what color
My father’s eyes were,
And I asked, Why? Why can’t
You just look — and the coroner,
Matter-of-factly says, Decay.
Do you want some eggs, my love?
I have a new way of preparing them.
And look, look outside, I think this weather
Has the chance of holding.

How about you? What are you composting this month? What are your tools of alchemy?


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