This blog will be a place to post poetry written by people living with Alzheimer's disease. We will focus on poetry that is created as part of the Alzheimer's Poetry Project. We will post information and news about dementia. We hope this blog is of use to the family members who have a loved one with dementia.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Jean C. Howard

When you sell
the Indian
I am away
in a hotel in Denver.
The news shoots
like electro shocks
through the mouths
of our family

Because when you sell
the Indian
despite the plead
my husband
made of you
before we left

Rumors of it running
as if we were losing
not just you
but the past of you
the boy running skinny
on the west side of Salt Lake

The you of you
that cried in boy terror
as great schoolmates
trailed your way

The slip of you
being bloodied at your
porch step
almost making it in

The almost of you
a dad that picks
you up and throws
you back out
to be man
to be a man
to be a man.

It is not the machine
we are losing
old and graced
still kicks up
in the garage

But the grace of you
sliding lightly across
the gym floor
arms adjusted
like tuned pistons
punching light
into your foe.

It is the blonde head
of you smashing waves
into the sky

The nuts and bolts
of you
greased and snarling
glistening gears
that ache for more.

It is the Zen of you
tight and tuned
and loose with liquor
kissing fear
right on its smacker

The girl of you
sewn tight in man-skin
mirrored by daughters
a fighting wife

The mother of you
curled like a brooch pin
within your gullet
her dirty housedress
her eyes of water
her breath still tinted
with hints of rose

When you sell
the Indian
you sell the promise
that you’ll go on

That thoughts won’t slip
by, silver trout
darting lightning
behind words

That you won’t wander
through the house
searching searching
all night long

Losing the “it”
of things,
of names and places
of checks your wrote.

When you sell the Indian
that which is precious
spokes and leather
aging chrome
still kicks up
deep in the garage

You forget that night.
With me, the daughter
trying to get it back.

Jean Howard was one of the original Slam poets in Chicago. She now lives in Salt Lake City and this poem reflects her experience with her father's Alzheimer's disease.
More about Jean on her website here


  1. Great work. My father is a victim to this dreadful disease too.

  2. Hi Glynis, Sorry to hear about your father. Thanks for the kind words about the poem!