Heroes On Our Stage - Poem by gershon hepner
In our memories we always play
the leading role, although our parts are merely walk-on
in those of others. We are poor sommeliers,
selecting memories like wine that we uncork on
all opportunities to adumbrate
our strengths whose labels do not verify the facts
we claim, so that we can exaggerate
our qualities. We’re heroes on our stage. All acts
revolve round us, with other people merely
supporting members of the cast, whose lines are far
less interesting than ours. Though we may dearly
appreciate their roles, we are the only star.
Their memories don’t ratify our own,
and we don’t ratify the ones they have. Enjoy
your memories as I do mine, alone
my arbiter, all others hoi polloi.
Inspired by an interview on KUSC in which Tobias Wolff, discussing the effect that memoirs may have on fiction, since he is the author of both, reminds us that we are always the main character in our memories, assigning mere walk-on parts to other people.
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