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Tag Archives: memory

found poem: examples

found poem: nagging

found poem: memory

found poem: language

found poem: TASTING

found poem: fascinated

found poem: that evening

found poem: the gate

found poem: plants

13 years

DAK announcement cardSo much time. So little time. The date, April 15, not a stab but a gentle shake. The green line of my emotions on the oscilloscope no longer sharp peaks and plummets, but low swells.
Those last 72 hours a play enacted between two phone calls. The first from the assisted living, “Your mother…” and the second, late at night, from the hospital, “Your mother…”
And in between, keeping her company in her silence, trying to decipher the map on this last unplanned journey until the nurses said Go home, get some sleep. I never slept. Howled into the night for her release. Then the call and the drive back through the empty streets and the long walk down empty corridors and into the silent room where the lights were dimmed and Dorothy was there but not there.
And after we had spent some time together in that new stillness, I went home again and sat up for the remainder of the night scanning photos, printing and labeling and stamping the cards that would go in the mail at first light. And after that so many things changed.

found poem: memories

found poem: to remember

found poem: Remembering

found poem: the word

found poem: your childhood

found poem: TIME

found poem: lurch

stories

DAK - What is a line

When she was in her 80s and already on the precipice of her long decline, my mother enrolled in an autobiography class at a local community college. The class met weekly and the same people enrolled semester after semester, sharing their stories on paper and aloud.

Dorothy loved it. Through the writing, she retold her personal history and found a new starring role on the stage of these fragments. More than anything, she loved standing before the class and reading her stories aloud. She dramatized and flirted and used the language of her body and voice as much as her words.

After some years, when my mother could no longer see well enough to read her own stories, the teacher generously read them on her behalf. But Dorothy missed the performance, spent much of each class session asleep in her chair, and finally dropped out.

In the bottom drawer of one of my file cabinets is a fat folder filled with Dorothy’s stories, laboriously typed on her word processor — some by her and later, when she could not make sense of them, by my father. I know these stories; they’re the ones she always told — about her childhood friends, her grandfather, her first meeting with my father.

I remember them. I heard her read many of them aloud. But I cannot bring myself to open the folder and read them all again. To decide whether I’ll transcribe them or simply recycle the paper, printing something of my own on the blank side. She’s been gone more than ten years, but her voice lives in that folder, retelling herself anew, the movie of my mother playing over and over in my head.

. . . . .
words and scribbles by DAK

found poem: distance

lawn

DichondraMy friend Jane lives 1200 miles from here, in the over-cultivated desert of Los Angeles, not far from my childhood home. Her garden is constantly evolving in a low-maintenance and drought-tolerant direction and this past summer she replaced a grassy area with clumps of Dymondia, which is a no-mow groundcover well-suited to L.A. but, much as I might admire it, a poor candidate for the soggy Northwest. When I talked with her this morning, she told me that her Dymondia was, annoyingly, being invaded by Dichondra.

The moment she said Dichondra, I recalled the house at the corner near where I grew up. It was small and tidy and mostly unremarkable except for its Dichondra lawn. An unblemished expanse of green, it was a hands-and-knees labor of love for the owners, who were “older” and stern and unforgiving of untethered dogs and children on bicycles who might want to shortcut across their yard. When I mentioned it to Jane, she told me that her street, in another neighborhood, also had a corner house that was maintained by fierce Dichondra fanatics.

I remember my mother being both envious and disparaging of the neighbors and their immaculate Dichondra, though no less agitated when dogs or children trespassed on the ivy in our front yard. She would crank open the kitchen window and shout, “Scram!” or “Get your dog out of the ivy!” as I hunkered down, hoping no one would see me and associate me with such a loud and embarrassing mother.
. . . . .
Dichondra

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