Accomplices and Other Jen Best Poems

bookjen2She’s very proud of the poems she thought she wrote in junior high. But no.  I tell her she graduated from high school in 1983; she thinks it was 1982. The poems in this little book are dated 1983 or 1984. What a fickle thing memory, but especially a downer for someone with brain injury.

Despite how many times I tell her, she forgets especially time and dates.  It’s obvious, though, from this book that she wrote Accomplices in 1983, the result of a class at Brigham Young University the one year she went to college before brain injury. She said they discussed World War Two and Hitler, and remembers how incensed she was at her first confrontation with terrible evil and violence. Even today she can’t watch explicit shows about the concentration camp horrors they upset her so much.

She knows her punctuation’s not quite “correct” but I tell her that’s okay. She has a feel for poetry: line breaks and effective repetition, and also a reflective voice. This is one of the poems she wrote in her tiny handprinting in this little book, one she’s most proud of. She wanted me to post it for my blogger friends. She’s hoping you’ll like it.

Accomplices

Why the Deaths?
Why did they follow one mad man?
Are we not one and the same;
Yet we are individual.
Each one no better than anyone else;
Each a person.
How can you look at anyone and not see
That he is also?
Why the Deaths?
Why did they follow one mad man?
(He did not do it alone)
Why?

This next one is my favorite because it’s filled with emotion and one very strong image. Anyone who has read my memoir In the Mirror knows that her father left us when she was fifteen to live with his male lover, and can more fully appreciate the emotion evoked through insistent questions, very effective repetition, and the powerful image of a mask.

My Father?

Who is this man, My Father?
I know him not.
I see his face – his mask-
What is behind it?
I know not. What.
What does he think?
What does he feel? (It is concealed)
I know him not.
I want to love him,
Yet I don’t know him.
Who is this man, My Father?
I know him not.

Finally, she says she’s also very proud of Starvation and wants to share it. So here it is, composed by the “old” socially conscious Jen. But the Jen after the accident still cares very much about homeless and starving humanity as well as the emotionally starved.

A lack of food?
No.
A lack of sight,
A lack of responsibility,
A lack of Unity,
A lack of Love?
Yes.
Not enough food?
No.
(There can be plenty)

5 thoughts on “Accomplices and Other Jen Best Poems

  1. Hi Ann and Jen. I loved reading these poems. They show so much inner thought and emotion. It must have been hard as a teenager to see your father leaving your mother for a man. Angst!
    So i saw your comment on Lee’s blog which is how i found you. Glad to see you back. This looks like a WP blog to me. Thought you were blogspot.

    (((Hugs))) Denise

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    • I’m SO glad I commented on Lee’s blog to get you here. I was about to comment on your blogspot. I still will. I thought I’d do Blogger again, and have it up, but I still like WP, partly because there are lots of people out there I’d like to find who don’t do Blogger; have found some already. Sadly, so many Bloggers I knew are gone, I mean gone from blogging, gone to FB which I don’t much like but to keep in touch the other two daughters, or just gone as in they’re REALLY old and have stopped blogging completely. Even though I only know the basics of WP, I can do it better than Blogger; and it’s so sleek. I know you’ve been writing, writing, writing, which is awesome, and still keep with WEP … and there’s travel. You are in your prime, Sis. And I’m glad to be back. Was feeling a bit lonely in ways my beloved Jen just doesn’t understand. Many ((( ))) back from both of us.

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  2. A few years ago my oldest son was in a terrible accident. He sustained head injuries that we felt would totally incapacitate him, and it did for a while. He still has no sense of hunger and doesn’t remember a lot of what happened in his younger years. I’m sharing this because I know first-hand about of brain injury and how it affects the one hurt as well as those who love them.

    Thank you for showing us Jen’s poetry. It was lovely to read.

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    • Thank you so much, Lee, for sharing this experience. Every time I hear of a terrible accident or shooting, I think possible head injury and feel a tightness in my chest. Only those who have been there know how, as you so eloquently say, “it affects the one hurt as well as those who love them.” I have come to realize what a positive experience it can be – not easy, of course, in fact very difficult – but it gives us as the loving parent an empathy for others in a similar situation that we can get in no other way than crucial experience. Each experience, too, is different for the victim, as your son no longer having a sense of hunger. Never heard that one before. So complicated the brain. Jen too can’t remember much of long ago. Does he have short-term memory problems?

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      • I did some research and the hypothalamus is what controls our hunger–among other things. And, yes, he does have short term memory problems. I have to call him to remind him about things, but lately I’ve seen some improvement. Fingers crossed.

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