March 2008

My monologue, and the painful topic of race

I have been developing an extemporaneous monologue based on my memoir Revival, and last Tuesday I first performed my monologue in public, at Richard Hugo House in Seattle, on the same day Barack Obama gave his extraordinary Philadelphia speech about race. Barack said that while he condemned and rejected certain views of his black pastor, he could no more disown Rev. Wright than he could his black community or his white grandmother who had expressed her own bigotry.

Cameron Penny's poem

If you are lucky in this life,
A window will appear on a battlefield between two armies.
And when the soldiers look into the window
They don’t see their enemies.
They see themselves as children.
And they stop fighting
And go home and go to sleep. When they wake up, the land is well again.

Cameron Penny's If You Are Lucky in This Life was originally published in the November/December 2001 issue of North American Review. Marie Howe reads his poem in the film Voices in Wartime.