Creating the Memory Collage by Alice Notley

Because I was mourning Doug so hard      but push out onto page

Alma, or The Dead Women      I couldn’t then react too

to 9/11      and I have placed it where I’m not but visit it’s

flat pressed into the ground through plexi-

glass a diorama die pun the medium herself can’t

handle      my sons there Eddie later worked as security

guard at Ground Zero      I tour the smell of the relics

with Anselm      I had been unable to locate


locate them at first      from Paris but I was calm      two months later

dreamed they were harmed      you put it one place it comes

out another I was outraged I was supposed to dot dot dot

Why bother with the topic      I can’t do everything can

I      Trust the words now it’s all I have

Years after sent the emails received from my sons and their

friends      as a historical document     pages from Karen

long poem from Mariana      fear and love more of love


and from others too I meant sent to my archive at UCSD

as history      In Alma away from the ensuing wars

we remake ourselves in a Needles gully the years

of the burrowing owls      Alma whom I am and owl

shooting up heroin into her forehead is god the

primary with pantheon      ah Mira Myra Anna etcetera

Anna had been real in the sense of actual person a

hooker in Chicago run by John the Pimp oh that’s


another story but in ‘Anna Shoots the Biograph’

(theater where John Dillinger was shot) she and I

were killing our biography      I assumed her

dead of AIDS by then only saw her once she might

have made it      a beautiful African-American in a red

coat and makeup      repaying me for valium lent

to John for her coke crash Anna I’ve always remembered you

where was I all I want to keep of it love and words


and the incredible thoughtful resilience the depth of

goodness – la bonté, caritas – in my sons

on the zen wind the ever-ness of a skill to say