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Pictures That Talk

mood: here | drinking: drinks


I’ve written about my friend Dieter before (here). In February of 2008, he suffered a massive stroke that left him struggling to regain his speech and the full use of his right arm and hand.

As an artist who had, his whole life, expressed himself through words and music, Dieter suddenly found himself locked inside his own head, unable to communicate his thoughts, fears, feelings. He had to learn how to say his wife’s name, his son’s names.

Since 2008, Dieter’s journey has been long and difficult. It is likely he will never fully regain the use of his right hand, or ever be able to speak or sing again the way he used to.

But he has found new ways to communicate. Ever the artist, Dieter has turned to photography to express not only his own story (the picture above is a self-portrait), but the stories of others who don’t have voices. (See a sampling of Dieter’s photos here and details of his “Pictures that Talk” tour here.)

This week, Dieter emailed me a link to a video he’s created, and I want to share it here with you. He’s found the beauty inside the heartache, and it’s breath-taking to watch…

The Stroke of Silence

-Lo, who is always amazed at the human heart’s capacity for hope.

Après un Rêve

Mood: Wishful
Drinking: Whatever

What shall I wear
when I meet you?

An open backed gown?
An upended frown?
Shall I leave my hair loose
or get it out of the way, and
what shall I say? What
shall I say through tears
or through teeth
or through bright anesthesia?
What should I say
when I first see your face?

I shall try to so hard to be
to coo each word
in the most eloquent
sound, though
I already know
it’s ridiculous
to expect you
to remember.

I’ve imagined the moment
at least three thousand times
and today
in the shower,
I suddenly knew the precise
circumference of your fingers.

How can an idea
be so much stronger
than gravity?
than reality?

You’re nothing more than
a gleam in the eye
but I feel your pull
like the earth
to the sky
like the moon
to the tide like
an addict to the high.

You are only a dream.
Just a dream.
Such an ephemeral
disembodied thing, but
one tiny drumbeat is
all it will take.

I already feel the fault lines
along which my heart will surely break.
(Yes, dear…It is I.
I am finally awake.)

It is only a matter of time.

-Lo, who always thinks up brilliant things while pen-less in the shower.