Lately, in my dreams and in waking life, I am haunted by the past. These are not always bad thoughts or memories; some are sweet, but some are disturbing. As I wrote in my poem, things change. It is what happens. Today I had coffee with F.K., my talented writer friend. We talked about Lucy. She did not know Lucy, but in the small world of New York writers she knew a lot about her, particularly since they are both writers known for memoirs which discuss self-image and the idea of beauty in our society. Such memories, I tried to explain to her...and in my poem I try to feel what it is about memory that is good, to find the beauty and simplicity in a good memory. And maybe I am trying to find the beauty in bad memories as well. That is not so easy to do. But I think of it as my unique challenge.
Here, I was three. I was helping carve pumpkins on Halloween. Look at my head. It looks like an egg, fragile and overly large. See how my hair shines. We lived in West Philadelphia, a very bad neighborhood. My father was a law student at UPenn. It was while my family was still happy, I think. I don't remember. But in so many later pictures from childhood I find things too disturbing. Maybe one day I will not think this way. Memory is a powerful thing. It knocks weaklings like me out completely sometimes.