Friday, November 16, 2012

Of martyrs, narrative, meaning, truth, and the craft of writing

Martyrs of the UCA in El Salvador
Today is an anniversary that marks murder and horror and the worst of U.S. imperial reach. On Nov. 16, 1989, six Jesuit priests and a mother and daughter who had taken refuge from war on the campus of San Salvador's Central America University were gunned down by soldiers funded, armed, and trained by the United States. They were good men, these priests, brilliant scholars, courageous in the role they took on during their country's civil war, fiercely dedicated to the poor who were struggling in the face of enormous odds for their liberation from decades of US-supported dictatorship.

I mention this because this story, the story of Central America during the years of the liberation struggles, was the work of my life - for nearly 25 years. I used to write the stories.

Friday, November 9, 2012

"Poetry's true perception..." - or memoir's

I struggle through memoir and poems these days. The memoir is in a hard place, the diminishment and long dying of my mother - an extraordinary journey we shared together. It opens up a raw, tender place - vulnerable, bursting with compassion and love...

And then I just miss her.

Since I started this writing project I also started writing poetry. That surprised me at first, now it doesn't at all. Now I begin to understand it.

What was freed up in the journey, what was let go, and then what the fierce concentration on that narrative opened even more, has freed up the place where poems are apparently born - at least, it appears, for me.