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A Few Iterations of Joan of Arc

Updated: May 18, 2022

Relative to the big, scary unending cord of time, the Fifteenth century wasn’t so long ago. In fact, it seems like just yesterday the English were decimated in the Battle of Patay. A lowly commander and a small band of surviving soldiers sent running back to their motherland, dodging admonition with tales of a female soldier with supernatural powers. Public scorn shrouded the remainder of John, the Duke of Bedford’s military career, but as we all know, the legend of the French heroine only grew.

I believe women possess a brand of strength that is truer. This is not based on some romantic posture, but rather, on logic. *An evolving character in this story.*

The following blurbs are about different women, some real, some imagined. Fodder for the consideration of my belief but also of reincarnation and these un-answerable questions…

What is more un-malleable than instinct? And what brand of instinct is deeper than a mother’s?

Is love something a boy should aim to defeat? If so, can it be beaten?

Did John, the Duke of Bedford really believe Joan of Arc held supernatural powers? Do we believe in the existence of these powers?

E.L.H. of Arc

This boy was a four-foot-something momma's boy, standing in the narrow hall between the master bedroom and the master bath as his mother tried on different earrings for a date.

He was used to her going on dates. If anything he shared in the excitement. Not because he was conscious that love was something a single mother in her late thirties held as a mystic lottery, but because he was so connected to her still.

He doesn’t recall what they were talking about before he asked the question. Or how he had even heard the word or if he knew what it meant. But, naive to the severity of the enterprise of bearing life, he asked,

“Mom, have you ever had a miscarriage?”

She didn’t answer right away.

“Well???” he asked.

She continued with a new set of earrings. Holding her hair behind her ears and turning to each side. Without interrupting the ritual, she calmly answered that this was the kind of knowledge she would be keeping to herself.

What?! It's not that she couldn't answer his question, but she simply wouldn't. It took more than a moment for the boy to fathom the idea that his mother would have things about her life that were hers, and not theirs. He dropped it and he never asked again.

The mind nests peculiar details. To this day, he can see how the gray dust collected in the rusty slits of the closet door next to him--how the carpet felt worn and pressed thin in the middle, but soft and full of life at the edges. But more than anything, he remembers how it felt when his mother became an entity that existed outside of their sacred pact. She was a person unto herself--a woman who was also his mother.

Z. of Arc

She walks down the maternity ward hallway. Each step felt through her legs and into her belly. Her body buzzing like a cornfield after an F4. Labor had come sooner than expected with no yellow sky to portend its hostility. She holds different parts of herself, ensuring they haven’t betrayed her completely as she makes her way closer to the nursery. Any remnants of the storm, even one small gust would be enough to put her on the hard tile.

She persists, unwavering.

Finally, she stops and watches the newborns through the window. Small webs of light blanket each small bundle of fresh life and she wonders if she is the only one that can see this. A nurse touches her back and advises her to return to her room to rest but quickly realizes her insisting is of no use. She stands there alone for a time and watches. Each breath an attempt to taste the life on the other side of the glass. And like the air of a premature spring, it is lovely and sharp.

She had lost her baby at birth the night before. Still, she felt she had to see the newborns.

D.P.H. of Arc

The late 80s post-coitus movie scene I aim to reenact is instantly ruined by the giant plume of white vapor I exhale in my bedroom. It should be smoke from cigarette drawing itself into salacious little storyboards, not some lab-perfected ratio of THC and CBD that smells of kiwi strawberry Snapple. But I am in love with the girl next to me.

I pass the metal pen and watch her take another drag. Her lips upturned--always asking a question. Her eyelashes flapping languidly like two sated Venus Fly Traps.

When I look at her I see all my wildest boyhood dreams. I try to articulate this but say something dumb like, "her beauty is really timeless." She’s unaffected. She knows. I doubt she always remembers this, but I suppose on some level, every woman knows.

It is this beauty that threatens me to the core. It's why I reach for artifice in her kindness toward me. I am John, the Duke of Fucking Bedford in these moments.

I say, “Love thrives off some equivocal ratio of faith and logic, right?” Then I tell her that I’m getting fed up with the tedious nature of this logic. I say, “Hey if John the Duke of Bedford can blame the supernatural for his defeat, can’t I regale it for victory?”

She says nothing. She might be too high to digest my musing. She might not be high enough to care. I pull the sheet to cover myself a little. I might be too high to realize I should shut up. She leaves my room without saying a word and I sit there contemplating the threats and triumphs of her magic.

When she returns, her devastating beauty isn't confronting me anymore. She's wearing a cheesy grin when she laughs, “I definitely just swallowed a huge gulp of Listerine." She collapses onto me with a hug.

“These fucking vape pens."

L.R.W. of Arc

I watch her like a fan in the audience though I’m just a couple of feet beside her on stage. It seems unfair to allude to battle. When in war do those come to drawn lines ready and eager for defeat? But here we all are, strewn at her feet with smiles on our faces.

I hear words I wrote come to life for the first time. I know the next verse is mine to sing but it seems silly for me to even raise a sword. I've got nothing on her and nothing could be more exciting.

E.H.S. of Arc

My mom told me at breakfast last month that a psychic said she was a reincarnation of Joan of Arc. She giggled and assured me she wasn’t insinuating she was THE reincarnation. Rather an iteration.

I laughed too, but not because it was absurd. More because life, at that moment, hit just the right note. Something as chimerical as a psychic reading to bequeath this pearl of sacred lineage.

Once in armor, heavy and clanking with each swing of the sword, now in a sundress purchased from Aquarian Dreams, swinging burning sage.

“Invisible energy fields be cleared!”

Her conquest interrupted only to impose upon me the Marie Kondo method of folding t-shirts. “Make space for the new, young warrior. Clutter is death!” (I'm paraphrasing here.)

So as I watched her defeat her adversaries, whether they were the juju of arguments past or the inveterate habits of undomesticated man-children, I would often step back and smile. A Joan of Arc armed with an understanding of mystic dimensions and couples therapy. Leading me bravely into the battle of tidiness of the room and heart. Leaving me prepared for the best. And worrying not at the frivolity of my own ego’s masculine structure, even when I’m convinced I could be the only living boy in Los Angeles.


#Joanofarc #woman #powerfulwomen

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