Tag Archives: Poems about Alzheimer’s

Losing the Words

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I was surprised by joy this morning to discover that Verse Daily had featured my poem “Losing the Words” late last year! Somehow I missed it — and today was the perfect day to discover it!

Here’s the link:
http://www.versedaily.org/2015/losingthewords.shtml

And here’s the poem:

Losing the Words

Wantons, they’d give themselves to anyone!

See how they slip in and out of one another’s clothes?

How – dressed in zinnia-colored feathers, giggling –
they settle to the lip like birds, then flicker away?

Oh, they hide behind the roof of my mouth with flashlights,
cast firefly shadows on my stuttering tongue –

dash onto the stage and off, grinning madly —
but above them that terrible sign: Exeunt Omnes.

For one day all of them –
all the thousand thousand names of God –

will fall in love. Conjoin. Merge
into the unkempt darkness behind the stars.

They will be gone forever. Then silence
will enter the echoing chambers of my mind.

It will speak its name at last.
I will say Yes.

The White Queen

The White Queen

Comes the White Queen worrying
and hurrying to keep up and losing
her hairpins. Mind pieces slip
out of their sockets.

Because it is all held together
with hairpins —
the old kind, meant to be invisible?

And they were invisible.
I didn’t know they were there holding my mind together
until I started
to lose it.

Someone whose name I should remember
talks of the sweet dishevelment of love,
but this dishevelment is not sweet.

Or perhaps I am wrong,
perhaps I should

no, could, because one should speak
only in possibilities not rules

but where was I

I could perhaps experience
this dishevelment as sweet —
this mental coming apart

or opening up, which is a more
appealing concept —
the mind dropping hairpins
not in the process of falling
off
in chunks

but of opening up.
Light through the cracks.

So this dropping
off of things — of memory,
cleverness, concentration —

perhaps is not matter for grief
but sign of expansion.

If poetry cannot be made,
perhaps it will come in
as a gift.

Joy creating everything,
even this.

Even the White Queen,
silly and confused and showering
silver hairpins
so beautiful
and full of light.