Where the poem comes from: Dustin Brookshire
Thursday, July 23, 2009
In 2008 Dustin founded LIMP WRIST magazine and Quarrel, a blog focused on poetry revision. He has been featured at poetry readings in Atlanta and Savannah and his work has been published in numerous online magazines as well as in Atlanta's DAVID magazine. Besides writing poetry and thinking up provocative poetry projects, Dustin serves on the Atlanta Queer Literary Festival Committee, and is a political activist who tries to keep elected officials on their toes.
As part of my series on poems' starting places, Dustin talks about his poem, “Stuck,” which originally appeared in O&S:
“I am working on a project with Robert Walker, a poet and graduate student at Virginia Tech. We share a love and a passion for the work of Denise Duhamel, and we send each other lines from Denise’s poems. Whatever line is sent must become the first line of our own poem.
“’Stuck’ starts with a line from Denise Duhamel’s 'Mille Et Un Sentiments': “I feel like I may be repeating myself, that I’m totally stuck” While I obsess on many things in my life, I find myself severely stuck on two topics: my parents' use of the “f” word during my childhood and a sexual assault by an ex-boyfriend. Both topics can be difficult to write about, whether it is because of reliving the incidents through words or simply for the fear of how my poetic voice sounds through my words.
“Ostensibly, it seems as if ‘Stuck’” comes from Denise’s line, but as Denise once said, “As poets, I think we all write from a deep wound.” And, for me, that is exactly where “Stuck” comes from—a deep wound.
I feel like I may be repeating myself, that I'm totally stuck
on the words of my mother and father, You're Fat.
Father: I've never seen a fat person who looked happy.
Mother: You don't want to be like your grandmother.
Don't tell your father I said that. I haven't even told
my new therapist about my calorie counting parents.
We're stuck on the rape. How I'm stuck with anger.
How I'm stuck on not crying about it.
I tell her I tear up when I think about it, sometimes.
She tells me tearing up isn't crying, isn't release.
Then I become stuck on changing the topic.
You see, I have a way with being stuck,
stuck between forgiving and forgetting.