Long before her interest in bioidentical hormones, before her series of books about various ways to ruin your health, before she riled the American Cancer Society with her alternative cancer treatments, and just a few years before she became the quintessential blonde, Chrissy Snow, on ABC’s hit situation comedy Three’s Company, Suzanne Somers made her astounding debut as poet in 1973 with a collection of poems titled Touch Me.
The poems in this collection are part shiv, part band-aid—slashing open forgotten wounds while asking the reader to learn from them. Perhaps, most obvious in the final lines of “Reflections,” Somers offers:
I wore my green sweater today—and smiled.
At two weeks ago
And loving you.
But no one’s skeletons are safe here. She can’t even leave the dog a bone. From “Extra Love,” Somers laments:
If anyone has any extra love
Even a heartbeat
Or a touch or two
I wish they wouldn’t waste it on dogs.
Outside of the agony/ecstasy of self-care, the collection offers coy recipes and sultry dietary suggestions such as in “Organic Girl,” things to consider while roaming the farmers markets of anywhere:
Organic girl dropped by last night
For nothing in particular
Except to tell me again how beautiful and serene she feels
On uncooked vegetables and wheat germ fortified by bean sprouts—
Mixed with yeast and egg whites on really big days—
She not only meditates regularly, but looks at me like I should
And lectures me about meat and ice cream
And other aggressive foods I shouldn’t eat.
Quite possibly the most moving, heart-rending, and erotic is the title piece “Touch Me,” as read in the video above.
Not like a cat
Or a tree
Or even a flower
For I am more than all of these
Yet akin to them: a woman.
Somers leaves no stone unturned, taking one on backwards-forwards journey through one’s entire self. Despite that, she will leave with questions about who she is, and, more alarmingly, about who you are.
And now I know something is over.
I only lied with words.