When I saw this image of Buddha from Ayutthaya, Thailand, I felt a deep resonance with the experience I was having with cancer. The poems that comprise Help Me Remember Who I Am had been coming for some time and it seemed that they too connected to the image. It spoke of being held in the tight space of pain while unswayable peace remained in the center of my being. This strong paradox would create the dance of a new awareness, an awareness that can only be opened by precious pain and suffering. For me that opening would be rectal cancer and the poems my pathway to healing.
I see now that the poems capture moments in time that I was seeing through the pain and into the face of God. That face reflected compassion and love and peace, and as much as I longed to hold that image as my greatest truth, it too longed to be seen and held by me. There, in that small opening of a poem, was a vast field where I encountered the divine spirit in its gracious splendor.
It feels like they “happened” inside of me and then found their way to the pen and paper. They poured out with an authority beyond me. I surrendered to them. Sometimes I did not even understand what I was writing. Over time the poems revealed much about my process. They are presented in the book in the order they were written. They are raw and real and honest. I offer them to you in their state of vulnerability.