Saturday, June 1, 2013


Entering, LA, January 2013
Sometimes, we run into what Lynda Barry calls "an image" - a deeply set, just-waiting-to-emerge story that really needs to be told. In the last of my seven week classes a few weeks ago, this popped out of my student, Nick Wiesmueller. He said that this memory has always stuck with him.

This piece so well depicts what it can be like to go back and approach these intense images in writing. What it is, what it means, what it feels like to write memoir, or, even more so, for your memoir to write itself. Overpowering, sometimes overwhelming, incredibly enriching.

There was a time on the bus
from camp
A time which lasted forever,
I held my heart close
lead in my feet, hands,
I felt some deep loss
of people
of place
of belonging
of community
of my first girlfriend
and more than acceptance
and love, boy it sure felt
that way

The movement away
left syrupy remains in my body
as if wind pulling at part of
myself gently giving way
piece by piece
held firmly
heavy feet
heavy heart
heavy heart
lead on bus seat
frigid emotional air as I tried not to cry.
Why, I would always wonder does this tear so deep
Why must I feel so much
I can feel like it
like here
I would hold tightly to vestigials, try to tie loosely
together, contact with

with phone calls, letters
until those connections, spider thin
were taken by distance time.

Yet always my heart belonged there,
and that’s why I chose
my one experiment in the woods
for college.

I haven’t even let myself
believe in that sort of fulfillment
I had there for years.
The fire, when burning just hurt too much.
So deep down it went.

There’s so much I’ve given up and sacrificed just to stay in the groove.
Deep in the groove,
Rutted, drive over and over until every bump, pot hole
is known.
it’s notched  deep, it’s hard to know what it means to leave it,
only that it’s somewhat terrifying

letting this in is deeply unnotched.
But it’s the demon that swims circles through my brain,
as insomnia time ticks the hours the by

It’s also love, tenderness.

That which deny is goodness, turned destruction,
energy bereft of acceptance takes on many unnatural forms,
comes out strange.

So the idea is whole acceptance of past selves,
past need fulfilled.
Not desires, needs pummeled into some outlet,
which though surface beneficial like biking 25 miles at lunch,
often is violence.
A violation of myself.

I have PTSD, diagnosed by a few.
And the amalgamation of emtions,
the incongruent attribution,
the self penalization by trenchant punch of emotion
into something it’s not.
Because there is just so much energy.
All typical.

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