Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Unexamined Life

I'm about to plunge into the unexamined world of memoir writing with a workshop I'm taking.  What I do know is that what you don't say is as important as what you say.  I recently read Patti Smith's "Just Kids" which like its title implies, reflects innocence despite the struggles of poverty in NY and Robert's hustling.  What it doesn't tell is what is it like loving someone who is gay and how it could feel to be one of the only two people at the Chelsea Hotel who went off to work every day.
  What are the themes of your life story?  What will you carefully omit? 

   Here's a poem from my chapbook which is from the long lost days of my life in the country with its Latvian twist.

                                  THAT LIFE

No strangers appear in that life
and we are the crazy Russians
on the hill,
enough to deliver us
from the rural town-
gas station, hotel, store in pairs.
Here in safety
golden fruit,
perfectly formed,
droops in bounty.
Blossoms brush my window,
daylight hypnotizes a hawk
hiding in the branches.
Apple trees provide
pink blush, green, all flavors of red.
And goldfish last
slumbering through long winters
in the pond,
where today
my uncle reflects sunlight,
imagining his cold gray sea.
The children of angels now,
my mother wears a dark blue suit,
instead of apron and headscarf.
We fly over the mountaintops of Crete
and lunch on city walkways
My father reappears as general
and still brings shivers.

There on the hill we tangoed
to the record player
after clearing fields of rocks.

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