By Kenny Fries
What is a scar if not the memory of a once open wound?
You press your finger between my toes, slidethe soap up the side of my leg, until you reach
the scar with the two holes, where the pins wereinserted twenty years ago. Leaning back, I
remember how I pulled the pin from my leg, howin a waist-high cast, I dragged myself
from my room to show my parents what I had done.
Your hand on my scar brings me back to the tub
and I want to ask you: What do you feel
when you touch me there? I want you to ask me:
What are you feeling now? But we do not speak.
You drop the soap in the water and I continue
washing, alone. Do you know my father would
bathe my feet, as you do, as if it was the most
natural thing. But up to now, I have allowed
only two pair of hands to touch me there,
to be the salve for what still feels like an open wound.
The skin has healed but the scars grow deeper-
When you touch them what do they tell you about my life?
from the book “Anesthesia: Poems”
(Avocado Press, reprinted with permission of the author)
Kenny Fries (Toronto) is the author of The History of My Shoes and the Evolution of Darwin’s Theory, which received the Outstanding Book Award from the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights, and Body, Remember: A Memoir, as well as editor of Staring Back: The Disability Experience from the
Inside Out. His books of poems include Anesthesia and Desert Walking. He was a Creative Artist Fellow of the Japan/US Friendship Commission and the NEA, a Fulbright Scholar to Japan, and a recipient of a grant for innovative literature from the Creative Capital Foundation. He teaches at Goddard College.
You can hear Kenny 7:00pm at the Cell Theater (700 1st Street) for OUTspken’s feature, open mic and slam—for a suggested donation of $5.
Plus catch him 7:30 pm Friday Night May 11th at the Outpost Performance Space $15 or $10 members.
He’ll also join the morning discussion about performance and presentation strategies at 10:30 am at Tricklock’s New Performance Laboratory on 110 Gold–he’s been lauded by the United Nations for his work. And he’ll be one of three keynotes 2 pm Saturday at the Main Library downtown.
Tonight at East of Edith, mixed into the open mic, I’m going to share contemporary poems from Pakistan, partially as I’ll be fresh from a talk at Creative Albuquerque. Neal Copperman of AMP Concerts is giving a presentation called “From Albuquerque to Islamabad.” From the amp concert website:
In October 2010, AMP Concerts’ Executive Director Neal Copperman learned about Center Stage, a State Department sponsored cultural exchange program designed to bring foreign artists to do short residencies in small and mid-sized cities around the US. He sent in a proposal to have Albuquerque included in the project and received a surprise call inviting him to join the scouting mission to Pakistan. This project will culminate in a visit by one of the Pakistani groups in the latter half of 2012. [The talk is today 6/6/11 at 5:30 at Creative Albuquerque - 115 4th Street N.W. (on the 4th St. mall, just south of Copper).]
When he came back from Pakistan, he brought me a book edited by Iftikhar Arif called Modern Poetry of Pakistan. I’ve been enjoying. So I’ll kick off the open mic probably with a ghazal, and then mix in some snippets between poets. The ghazal is a lovely form, long-lined couplets, like beads on a necklace, a form originating in 6th Century Arabic verse and still universally appealing today. Read more.
Anyhow, if you’ve got a new poem (any form) or two poems, or one of yours and a new favorite you just found in a book, come share at East of Edith open mic. Likely there will be goodies, and drinks, and we’re also going to be able to keep the swamp cooler on to keep things nice and comfortable. We start at 7:00 (or shortly thereafter) and the venue is through the open garage doors at the Projects, 3614 High Street, just north of Candelaria and East of Edith. I’ll also have some announcements: including forthcoming tix giveaway for Urban Verbs, and this Thursday’s Triptych, and also upcoming P(EAR) and a nonviolence writing workshop… Things are moving along.
Hope to see you.