Broken Machine :: In Corpore Sano Presents Meaghan Hamilton

Amanda Glassman
May 16 · 4 min read

Four poems from artist and poet Meaghan Hamilton


Meaghan Hamilton’s poems engage directly with the daily demands of chronic pain, exploring questions of agency, expectation, and possession of and by the body. According to Hamilton, poetry is “something I can still do at my worst, in bed, and doubled over in pain…It is the clearest form for me to work through my own problem without coming up with any concrete solutions, while still producing, being creative, and contributing something to the world.”

Expanded and additional work from Hamilton appears in the forthcoming initial print volume of In Corpore Sano.


The only Handicap Parking Placard in this universe

I looked her into her eye
Laid bare the sequence of my DNA
And she said
“I don’t Deserve to touch you”
And from the drivers side,
For the first time in my life,
I thought: we don’t deserve anything

All my poems are questions,
But there is one thing I do know
You and I were not born from slate
Stumbling to a life waiting to be lived
We crawled from pain,
Through pain,
Into pain

And that’s all we do deserve

Hownne

my body has never been a home
it houses something
that is myself and yet
i would leave if I could
because my body is constantly destroying itself
my hips, my knees, my wrist
click and pop with the sounds of a broken machine
which is still myself
my skin, my head, my insides
burn in a never ending house fire
my body is in a constant state of trying to evict myself
making the conditions unlivable

my mind has never been my own
half my thoughts are yells
of a voice that is not mine
yet it comes from inside myself
shouting its own self destruction
every move, sound, action
i do is magnified to mountain
every day in bed, friend i lose, thing left undone
in further proof for that voice that is not me
that it should destroy itself

my body wants me dead
my mind wants me dead
yet here i am

what is this part of me
that clings to life
that shouts out the voices
that works through the pain
if I’m not my body
and i’m not my mind
what am i

the sun the moon and You

though i don’t believe
i understand why
they used to worship; the sun and the moon

because a god created in our image:
of tethers and pain
That can collapse and implode

is wrong

Gestalt

If we are more than the sum of our parts
Why am i only taken a part

as my body comes a part
each limb, each organ is stolen
consumed, taken whole by the world

my boss wants my hands, my arms
friends and lovers want my hips, my heart
allies and others want the weight of my shoulders, the pain in my collar
all fresh on a slate
independent, belonging to whom ever

my mind, my soul
broken and fried
rots unwanted and unseen

i want to claw my nails into my skin until I’m whole again
or at least until I’m in enough ribbons and strands that I will never again stand
never having to put myself back together
after the feast has ended
never having to be apart


Meaghan Hamilton and is an activist, artist, and poet currently living in New York City and my pronouns are she/her. Professionally, she has been involved in different facets of non-profit fundraising, with specific interest in non-profits doing community work to empower marginalized communities. As an artist and performer, her home is in spoken word and improv, but because of physical, mental, and financial limitations opportunities to participate in both are few and far between. Previously she was a director of a social-justice spoken word performance group, Performing for Change. She is currently working on a chapbook, A/Part, an exploration of disability mental illness and the self, which will be done as soon as she has enough spoons.


IN CORPORE SANO: Creative Practice and the Challenged* Body, is a transdisciplinary collection and conversation by, on, and for bodies-against-within-despite, in the form of an ongoing web series and a forthcoming print:document series (preorder a copy here!). If you’d like to be a part of ICS, rolling submissions for the project are once again open.


With thanks to managing editor and lead facilitator Elæ [Lynne DeSilva-Johnson].

The Operating System

The Operating System is a peer-facilitated experiment in the redistribution of creative resources and possibility. We are committed to gathering resources for citizen action, to transparency, to a unique publishing model, and to continuous evolution. We are based in Brooklyn, NY.

Amanda Glassman

Written by

Librarian, archivist, writer, editor.

The Operating System

The Operating System is a peer-facilitated experiment in the redistribution of creative resources and possibility. We are committed to gathering resources for citizen action, to transparency, to a unique publishing model, and to continuous evolution. We are based in Brooklyn, NY.