This is very personal to me in several ways. First, some years ago, when I just started blogging, Wayne emailed me to tell me his story and to share his poetry, as the blogger Al Johnson. Second, Wayne emailed me because he was reaching out, having his own inkling of that sense that his story was also my own story, which he invited me to share. Third, what he's written is what (in my own experience) is written in my life (and how rhetorics and poetics and the like are so useful). Fourth, if you wonder why I so often link feminisms and recovery work, then you can wonder a little less. Here's what one poem sounds like:
Sticks or Verbal Bricks
Sticks and stonesWhile you're writing the wrongs, if you are, and until it's safer for you, which it may not be yet, then you might want to read Wayne's book. He's offered it to us for free as an e-book at http://www.lulu.com/aljohnson. Or you can pick up your own paper copy from amazon.com for yourself or someone else who might appreciate it (and give Wayne a few pennies in due royalties):
may break my bones,
but words will never hurt me.
Sticks and stones
can break my bones
and leave long lasting bruises
And cruel words
are heard and mentally recorded.
The tape can play forever:
We might more wisely choose our words
if we knew cruel ones wreck like rape.
It's lifelong work in either case
to repair our memory’s tape.