Simultaneously heartbreaking and exhilarating, No Center Line embodies a kind of crazy wisdom that is the essence of what made Beat Literature so central to the cultural and societal changes Lerner has seen up close in her lifetime while living in the Beat aftermath, the Postbeat era. Crafted as a series of juxtapositions, she holds true to a form of compassionate and liberating language and energy that was the chalice of truth Allen Ginsberg held aloft when he set forth “Howl” at the Six Gallery Reading on October 7, 1955.
Jim Cohn, Founder & Director,
Museum of American Poetics.
In No Center Line, Miriam Lerner has composed an extraordinary memoir-montage, floating chunks of her life in powerful poetry and prose that bump, kiss, crash into each other, each giving new shape and light to the other, new full of life insight and passion, even in desperation or close to death.
No Center Line reveals a damaged, though still-warm heart, and a brave honest pen that indelibly joins her life to ours. I was with her to the last page.
Steve Coffman, poet, novelist,
essayist, memoirist and playwright.
From the Introduction:
We are all fractal. Everyone has a story, many stories, in our external and internal lives, internally not only on the psychological but even to the cellular level. The more we ask – and then listen – to each other, the more details rise to the surface, an infinite number of sagas, with dreams and travels and rocks and friends and trees and sisters and animals and parents and sadness and loss... as well as indescribable joy and gratitude. We all pulsate and oscillate together on this planet, and if we are lucky enough to swing into orbit with a few – or even luckier, with many – dear ones, then together we go waltzing Matilda, adding more and more to our prom cards as we go. We hum and harmonize as we take a turn around the dance floor, and we become a living, breathing section of each other's constantly morphing fractal blossoms.
We take the light we get – sunlight, starlight, moonlight, or halogen highway lamps – and move onward, weaving back and forth across the narrow band of pavement or gravel or sand, like someone who would blow way over the BAC limit if stopped by highway patrol. We attempt to stay on track and hope our wheels don’t catch the lip of the shoulder and veer off into a ditch. We strive most often to move forward, and sometimes in reverse, but only when we have to. There aren’t always those helpful white bumpity-bump dots to wake you up if you doze at the wheel. So often in life there is no center line. And, yet, we drive on.
It's a bit unnerving for me, sharing the writings in this book with others. But I've been touched by so many people, and for some reason it seems right at this point in my life to sit around a fire to bitch and moan and tell some tales. Everybody has them….you know you do too. I'd like to think that, given the chance and with a bit of encouragement, other folks would do the same and open up the door a bit. Well, what the hell - pass that bottle of wine over here, I'll start.... and then it's your turn….
46th parallel love song
A poem for Jennifer
Ooooooo! Dr. Hamlin!
Letter to a coach
Crepe Myrtle, 9/2015
The mauve-colored door
Love amidst the lilacs
50 Shades of Sleep
The Secret Sharer
Cassini’s love for Saturn
The Diamond Girl
In Honor of the Six Gallery Reading
Miriam Lerner has been a professional sign language interpreter since 1983 and currently resides in Geneseo, NY, with her husband Kenny Lerner. They have two beautiful and brilliant sons, Nathan and Jamie, and always two dogs of indeterminate intellectual abilities. She is a proud and energetic member of the Liberal Arts Core Team of interpreters on staff at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at Rochester Institute of Technology. This is her first collection of writings, culled from old emails, scraps of paper, and journals from the past 20 years. She is curious what the next 60 years will bring...
No Center Line, a collection of prose and poetry,is a 120 Page Hand-stitched book with spine. $16.00.