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October 18, 2003

From the Archives

Here are the first of three entries that I made in my Diaryland diary that I want to make sure I bring over to my permanent website (i.e. the website you're on now). This one involves some of my poetry, as well as one of my favorite opening paragraphs of a book.

March 11, 2003 - 12:37 p.m.

And here's the other poem I need to unleash upon the world. It was written one day when I was pondering my life after having had cancer, what I felt about the situation, etc. This is copyright me, 1997. Please don't steal this one or the other one ... but if you like them, feel free to bestow me with all kinds of praise.

This poem has the best two lines I think I've ever written.

Mine is the one, life's prison
Sheltered safe
Standing still to listen in the silence
A toothless beggar
A braggart
Holding out their cup
Depending on the kindness of strangers
Is kind of strange
Always with a hand out, grasping
Sagging under the weight
Like a tree branch heavy with rain
Reaching for comfort
Love labors and is lost
Bound by freedom, found by pain
To rest the day weary
Tell me a story and sing me to sleep
Or chase the fireflies
Suddenly alive
Scars are a map and a record of history
Of my borrowed time trickling
Down the drain

March 11, 2003 - 10:13 a.m.

Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man has the best opening paragraph of any book, ever:

It goes a long way back, some twenty years. All my life I had been looking for something, and everywhere I turned someone tried to tell me what it was. I accepted their answers too, though they were often in contradiction and even self-contradictory. I was naive. I was looking for myself and asking everyone except myself questions which I, and only I, could answer. It took me a long time and much painful boomeranging of my expectations to achieve a realization everyone else appears to be born with: That I am nobody but myself. But first I had to discover that I am an invisible man!

March 11, 2003 - 8:18 a.m.

So last night I woke up suddenly, bolted upright in bed, and realized that I have never committed some of my best poems to the ether that is the Internet. I started thinking that if something happened to the journals where I'd written the poems, they would be lost and gone forever.

So I jumped out of bed, dug out the old journal from its hiding place, and resolved that today I would commit the poems to the posterity of the World Wide Web.

Here's the first:

Life Among the Ruins

(For Jeremy)
Turned upon himself
A boy walks down the road
Kicking stones
Matter doesn't matter
And regrets are for the weak
Stopping there in the swirl of dust
Running headlong into nothing
Another day, another dollar
Another lamb for the slaughter
Teach me, he thinks, or I will learn
I will be, I will live, I will burn
Set upon the stars he wanders
Aimless as the clouds
Spinning yarns, resting twice
Until his mind no longer fights
Skipping stones and bending time
Denying the past, anticipating
And tomorrow
And the questions left unanswered
Forging an alibi and shifting the blame
There is no self
Only part of the greater whole:
Dependent and anonymous and excluded.

Posted by Julie on October 18, 2003 05:03 PM to the category Stuff About Me
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