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Tag Archives: stories

found poem: we Wrote

found poem: climbing

found poem: life

found poem: translator

found poem: DIRT

found poem: pressed

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: poetry

San Diego, 1970

1970 - DAK San DiegoMy father unseen, on a balcony perhaps, raises the camera to include the duck drifting out of the frame, and my mother, on the dock below, who has been enjoying the lily pads near her feet. At his request, she has taken off her hat, which is in her lap, and her sunglasses, which dangle from her left hand. She smiles, starts to turn toward his voice, and he catches her with her eyes closed.

There’s room for him on the seat and maybe he’ll join her, or maybe she’ll pick up a pad and sketch a bit. They’ll go for a walk. They’ll stroll up and down the docks looking at the boats, which my father loves, although he’s never owned a boat and never spent much time on the water.

They’ll eat lunch at a place with a view of the bay and go to the zoo, where he’ll take photos of a zebra and a hippo. They’ll go back to their room and read a little, and nap, and then have a glass of wine on their balcony overlooking the water, and then go to dinner, and then walk wherever it is people walk on these warm summer evenings.

Maybe they talk about the space race, the war in Vietnam, the recent invasion of Cambodia or the four students killed at Kent State. Maybe not. Maybe they speculate about the lives of people around them or comment on the play of color on the water.

Maybe none of this happens except the duck and the dock and the zebra and the hippo, which I know because of the photos — the tenuous armature of a story that can be told in so many ways.

found poem: this rambling

once you…

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