I remember our trip in a rental car: Ray, John Crawford, and me, just after September 11, to Lowell, Massachusetts, in search of Jack Kerouac’s grave, but finding instead a Middle Eastern Karaoke bar across the plaza from the Industrial Museum. There we joked about whether the woman might be Osama bin Laden’s wife in exile—the bin Laden family did own property in Boston after all—cooking barbeque with her small daughters, smiling for the tourists. Eventually we made it to the Jack Kerouac Memorial Park, thinking how much alike the words Kerouac and Karaoke are, yet so very different.
And years later, John is on the long-distance phone, asking: Remember the bin Laden girls? I wonder what they’re doing now? what language they speak? Farsi, Arabic, Pidgin English? Laughing at how insensitive we sound, but not caring, no one else is listening (except possibly the NSA)—and we have been politically correct for decades, back to when it wasn’t even a thing.
is the author, most recently, of a chapbook entitled Henceforth I Ask Not Good Fortune (Finishing Line Press, 2021). Other chapbooks include Five Angels (Five Trees Press, 1976), Let Us Not Blame Foolish Women (Tombouctou Books, 1983), and The Land (Smithereens Press, 1988). Her writing has appeared in numerous print and online journals and anthologies, such as Beautiful Cadaver Social Anthology (a Camp fire anthology), Gyroscope, Painted Bride, Rise Up Review, Solo Novo, The Marin Poetry Center Anthology, and Writers Resist, among others. In the 1980s, she edited the eclectic literary magazine Turkey Buzzard Review. She now lives in Northern California, where she practices environmental law and helps elect progressive candidates to office.
Author’s blog: Dotty LeMieux Poems and More