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

Saturday, April 17, 2010

"Poetry," by Lee Chang-dong in Cannes Film Festival

The excerpt below on Lee Chang-dong new film is from HanCinema, Click to read the full report. This trailer is in Korean but it looks like an interesting film.

"Korean dramatic film "Poetry" is set to be released in France on August 25, according to the film's production company Uni-korea on Friday.

Uni-Korea announced through a press release that "Poetry", helmed by renowned director Lee Chang-dong, will be distributed by French distribution company Diaphana.

The movie, starring veteran actress Yoon Jung-hee, is about an elderly woman who takes poetry classes and writes her own poems while battling Alzheimer's disease.

"Poetry" has been chosen to compete at this year's prestigious Cannes Film Festival."

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sweetest at the End

A wonderful essay by Elinor Lipman in today's New York Times' Modern Love section. She describes her family's experience with her husband's frontotemporal dementia.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Dementia Blog

Check out Susan Schultz' Dementia Blog.

Schultz writes "The Dementia Blog was written over the course of six months during the worst of my mother’s dementia. In August 2006 she was still in her home; by January 2007 she was settled into an Alzheimer’s home. The blog, like all blogs, moves backwards from the present into the past. Because it moves back, the reader has no sense of cause and effect and often does not recognize what has happened until reading further back. This form struck me as appropriate to a meditation on memory and self-loss."

It is a fascinating collections of images, including these poignant lines,"— The woman who is not wearing shoes comes up behind me and places her hands on my shoulders. She squeezes them. I turn and ask her name. She does not know."

Perhaps other people will or have used Schultz' to record their experiences in being a caregiver.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Thirty Seconds Before Dinner

Esther Altshul Helfgott's poem with its image of Harley-Davidson motorcycles, puts me in mind of the story from London about using replays of soccer, or what the rest of world calls football, to reach sports fans living with dementia.
Football Replay.

I love her image
"but this Harley flew
out of the picture frame
as if it were a bird."

You may read Esther's blog at Witnessing Alzheimer's

He was different tonight
more withdrawn
though he did raise his arm
when he saw a motorcycle
hanging on the wall.
You wouldn't expect
to see a Harley-Davidson
in a nursing home
but this Harley flew
out of the picture frame
as if it were a bird.
Abe was astonished,
even though his facial muscles
remained tight
and his mouth stayed closed.
For thirty seconds his eyes lit up.
Afterwards, we returned to where we were before:
me wondering what to do next,
he not waiting to go to dinner.