Tag Archives: Memory

The Ghosts of Lyells

We were already homeless
When I moved out
Slowly, toe by toe,
Piecemeal, until I was whole
On the outside
So as not to offend
And you called me a name,
Standing in the grass outside
Someone else’s home,
What was it?

I was blind, and did not see
I left behind a piece of me
In that spot.

You procured a house in Lyells
My brothers orbiting
Expecting I would return
To live, to rely, to wait
To be married off
According to custom,
And the world we’d been evicted from
Continued on
Behind the looking glass.

So many familiar things
Heaped in piles, bags, and shelves
I asked for tokens
Some photos, some mementos,
Some toes I’d left behind
Your pursed lips
Denied me:
I forgave you instantly.

Later, I returned
When my familiar things
Spoke foreign tongues
And every corner sang
In minor chords
All the edges wild,
Overgrown
Days in disuse, disowned,
You asked if it would be so bad

And part of me felt at home,
So I ran.

In my rented compartment
Years and miles away
A swift bird flitted by
Singing of your abandonment
None stood by your side
When the final moment came
And I drove all day to find you
Back down the endless drive
To Lyells

Empty rooms
The cavernous throat
Hollowed out and rotting
Like a dead beast in the forest
Food decayed on plates
The final moments
Wasting away naked
Exposed
Slips of paper pasted
On every surface

“”Remember.”

Who are we to forget?
The musty, fusty smell
Of rotted youth
Treasures dumped as trash
In the great heap
Of time and the shattered,
Irreplaceable toes
You were long gone,
But the walls whispered

“”Remember.”

I took no memento
From the macabre museum
Our mausoleum of bones
I stood while all the walls
Shrank around me
Counting eternity
In shallow breaths
I clutched my keys,
And backing out,
I left.

All the little pieces
Scattered along my way
I saved for some return trip
Braving some stronger day
An ace perpetually up a sleeve-
Until the songbird crowed again
I pilgrimaged down the endless drive

All gone.
Razed to flat earth
Every exhibit
Details of form, weight, and shade
Ash and dispersed
Into abstract ghosts
Wandering, screaming,
Haunting the eroding memories

All that may remain:
A wave of lost pieces
Phantom limbs

I’ve heard it said:
Live in a house
And it will not crumble.
Time may overturn its contents,
Coins rolling into every crevice, yet
Memory builds a timeless structure
Wherein no man may live,
Nor flee,
And every stage
From birth to death
Exists simultaneously.


Memory Pangs

I’ve read our memories are best plucked
By specific scents, the sense of time
Bends and folds in sudden agreement
To retrieve a moment from where it’s tucked.
Forgotten years may be retrieved
By a single sniff: A whiff of aroma
Translating ancient hieroglyphs
Into tactile memories perceived

But this roving feeling in my gut:
Hungry, ill, then intractable will
Empowers empty to give its fill:
An illusion of some ethereal glut-
This precise, vivid language, rarely-used,
Unenthralled, unwraps the shawl of years
Exposing in the clarity of muscle-squalls,
“Ah-ha! I remember! This isn’t new-

I once lived here.”


Dear God,

She writes, she dreams,
In dark carnival scenes
Mad-toothed barkers, twisted mirrors,
Remorseless, deathless terrors
In suspended animation-
I shared in her damnation:
It’s all true, in sideways shards
Where truth leaves truth marred
Where mothers’ lips fuel hearses;
Where mothers’ tongues drip curses
And hunger puts its fist in baby-bellies
And the cold pulls warriors to felled knees,
And bruises, like tribal tattoos, shine
Flaunting hell in knuckle-designs
Barkers estimating height, and weight,
And every flaw, sin, or mistake
Stench and stale smothering
Tender skin succumbed to stings
Of ruthless consumption and defacement:
Run-down rides in broken-down basements.
And she writes with teeth still piercing skin,
Like goodness died, and carnies win,

And I need You to be You again-
The unchangeable God: the same
Yesterday, today, and always.


Imprecise Recall

As the once closed curtain of time
Falls open, by accident, down the center
Like your lover’s blouse
Inadvertently untethered,
I stare indecently
At moments unmeasured
Illuminated by the soft glow
Of the forgotten
Or forsaken

Or forbidden.