I’m going through an old journal right now trying to jog my memory for some of the ‘cancer’ essays that I’m writing. Something that I had kind of forgotten was how, even before I came to school to be a writer, I was really wishing in that direction, and was often doing these little exercises from various books…I found this one, apparently written in November of 2003–the weekend before I was diagnosed. It’s a brainstorm where you have to begin each line with the next letter of the alphabet. (On the same page was a paragraph I had written without using the letter “e.”)
In Key West a couple of months ago, I think a poet called one of her poems that did this an “abcderia.” I don’t know that this is a poem, but why not? I’m amazed at how many of the images I have used in the last couple years in other work–themes of invisibility and forgotteness are all over my screen play, and the metaphor of trying to U-turn in your life and being unable to is in the opening paragraph of an essay I wrote last term. I also begin with the idea of gender roles and a sense of inequality, which come out all over the place in my work. Maybe we do just keep wrestling with the same stories, over and over again.
Alpha dogs lead the pack.
Boys are that way too.
Can’t hardly see me, in such a hurry to get to the front.
Different from all that I am
Ever the invisible.
Forgotten might be a better word, but it works out the same.
Great for me, actually.
Hard at first to be overlooked, but it has it’s advantages.
I never get beat up, for example.
Justice of a sort.
Kickball is a bummer of course—I never get picked.
Left behind, invisible, forgotten—are these synonyms?
My thesaurus doesn’t list them together.
Neither does my mom.
“Oh honey,” she says,
“No one’s forgotten you!”
Parent-teacher conferences were yesterday, she hasn’t remembered yet that she forgot.
Quick-quick to the attic—
Racing again—that’s the littlest two, who’ll never get left behind.
“Save yourselves!” I want to tell them.
Truly, they don’t need saving—they’re on the right track.
U-turn—that’s what it would take for me.
Very unlikely on a road this narrow.
Whatever. I’m fine down here in the basement—away from that rat-race up there.
X-rays of the house would reveal my bones here—Superman could see me
Yonder, wander me, under the lighting tree.
Zapped—by lightning…or heat-ray vision.