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Saturday, May 26, 2012

5-26-12 Pictures of Tommy - a memoirist’s blog #27


(Right now, I’m focusing on my memoirist work that I’ll call, simply, “Pictures of Tommy” -- mostly about my psychotic brother and his legacy.  It touches on my fears, too.  Here’s the part that I talk about my experience growing up, and some of the factors contributing to my early teen breakdown. . . This is the painful stuff for me, bad choices, stupid moves. . .)


Here’s an old poem I wrote from that time about Tommy and Northern Boulevard:

ODE TO NORTHERN

Can’t you hear? It’s
Northern Boulevard.
I tell you it gets soothing, like
Whiskey or gin or that stuff
Your shrink told you to take
Because you became
Sometimes violent.
You’d sit in a diner
-- On Northern --
Scornful mockery on your face
As was the fudge from the top of your
Super-deluxe Ho-Jo Ice Cream Soda,
Fudge-rippled.

So you sit in your house
Until you can’t stand it
But there's nowhere else to be
So you listen to
NORTHERN BOULEVARD NOISES
-- and sleep in your dream.

Anyway, it went something like that.  And similar poems, plus my magnum opus, “Quasi-Cinematic Phantasmagoria” won me a poetry award in high school, one I didn’t even know existed.  I was surprised and pleased to win. . . how nice.  The award was a hardback copy of William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury, which I only got around to reading once I was studying to be a certified High School English Teacher in Connecticut.  It’s a bizarre and complex work. . . what a strange choice for the Salmagundi Poetry Award!

Anyway, before Tommy started writing poetry, I’d done it.  Maybe that’s why he got so mad at me when I wouldn’t do comprehensive literary analyses for him of his poems. . .

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