Jimmy

open-gate-bo-bartlett

Tuesday.

I’m leaning back in the chair.  The bodies on the teleconference are shifting, their paper shuffling is booming on the mic. The update continues, I’m fading, drifting. I look up at the clock and it tugs me back, way back.

It’s hidden inside, in a dark space, deep in a corner on the edges, frayed but biting.

~ 1967

I was a child. You were a child. A Boy.

The schoolhouse had two classrooms, three grades in each room, one row for each grade, four to six students in each grade.  Three rows of heavy steel, four legged desks, each having a pocket for school things.  We were in the First Grade.

He was oversize in first grade, having been held back. Tall, thin, with hunger hanging from his bones. His brother was already categorized as a Juve, his Father an alcoholic, in and out of small jobs and a Mother desperately trying to keep it all together, and losing.

Faded jeans, not from stone washing, but from hand me downs from his older brother, or from a flee market sale. Everything wrong-sized, tattered and carrying a whiff of moth balls. Laces on too-big shoes loosely tied. Hair long, unruly and badly in need of a sheer. [Read more…]

Saturday Morning

eric-rose-portrait-freckles

Fragile as ash
a memory stirs
and the past comes back. […]

a single breath
can make it
crackle and burn.

~ Gary Catalano, “Breath,” Slow Tennis: Poems 1980-83

 


Notes: Poem – Memory’s Landscape. Catalano was an Australian poet and art critic. Photo: Eric Rose.

Lightly child, lightly.

bird-in-hand
[…]
This is what I want.
I want to keep the past like a pearl on my tongue,
to inherit the salt in my skin. I want to learn how horizon can curve
back into itself so I can say what ocean says of wreckage: Dive into
my chest, stay as long as you can breathe, chart this hull of bones.

Bryce Emley, from “Everything All at Once (My Self as Ocean)


Notes:

  • Photo – mennyfox55. Poem: Memory’s Landscape
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

 

It’s been a long day

water-blue-art-painting-self-portrait

The odd little magpie of the mind.
Nothing is finally finished, then?
The past emerges and re-emerges.
It builds its random nest in the oddest places.

~ Colum McCann, Thirteen Ways of Looking


Notes:

and a whole door to the past blows open

art-woman-red-remember-emotion

At unexpected points in life, everyone gets waylaid by the colossal force of recollection. One minute you’re a grown-ass woman, then a whiff of cumin conjures your dad’s curry, and a whole door to the past blows open, ushering in uncanny detail. There are traumatic memories that rise up unbidden and dwarf you where you stand. But there are also memories you dig for: you start with a clear fix on a tiny instant, and pick at every knot until a thin thread comes undone that you can follow back through the mind’s labyrinth to other places. We’ve all interrogated ourselves— It couldn’t have been Christmas because we had shorts on in the snapshot. Such memories start by being figured out, but the useful ones eventually gain enough traction to haul you through the past. Memory is a pinball in a machine— it messily ricochets around between image, idea, fragments of scenes, stories you’ve heard. Then the machine goes tilt and snaps off. But most of the time, we keep memories packed away. I sometimes liken that moment of sudden unpacking to circus clowns pouring out of a miniature car trunk— how did so much fit into such a small space?

~ Mary Karr, The Past’s VigorThe Art of Memoir (HarperCollins. 2015)


Notes:

Anemoia: So clear and still you can see your own reflection.


anemoia – n. nostalgia for a time you’ve never known

Imagine stepping through the frame into a sepia-tinted haze, where you could sit on the side of the road and watch the locals passing by. Who lived and died before any of us arrived here, who sleep in some of the same houses we do, who look up at the same moon, who breathe the same air, feel the same blood in their veins—and live in a completely different world.

Don’t miss full transcript below…
[Read more…]

avenoir


avenoir – n. the desire that memory could flow backward

We take it for granted that life moves forward. But you move as a rower moves, facing backwards—you can see where you’ve been, but not where you’re going. And your boat is steered by a younger version of you. It’s hard not to wonder what life would be like facing the other way…


Source: John Koenig: The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

Again this morning, in a cold wind

bridge-cables-red-Golden-Gate-Bridge

Again this morning, in a cold wind from the future, I walked all the way to the end of the long bridge of my life, having a look at its cables, its rods and rivets, its perforated metal flooring through which I could see whitecaps slamming the pylons. Then I turned and came back, inspecting it all from the other direction, fretting about every hex nut and bolt though they seem sound enough to hold things together. I ought to give the long bridge of my life a little rest, but every day it seems I’m walking from past to possibility and back to past with my brush and aluminum paint, hiding the rust, the deepening cracks, dabbing a shine here and there.

~ Ted Kooser, November. The Wheeling Year: A Poet’s Field Book


Notes:

  • Note to self: Now. 4:23 am. 21º F. Wind, cold. 13 mph from the West.
  • Credits: Photograph – peopleus.

Just like that…

woman,stare,wonder,ponder,

“What was, is;
What might have been, might be.
What’s kept. What’s lost. A snap decision.”

– Adrienne Rich, from Later Poems Selected And New


Poem Source: Soaked In Soul. Photograph: “Enigma”; Kenny Sweeney

Mistakes made by the selves we had to be

white,photography,arms crossed

Do you have hope for the future? someone asked Robert Frost, toward the end.

Yes, and even for the past, he replied, that it will turn out to have been all right for what it was, something we can accept, mistakes made by the selves we had to be, not able to be, perhaps, what we wished, or what looking back half the time it seems we could so easily have been, or ought…

The future, yes, and even for the past, that it will become something we can bear.

And I too, and my children, so I hope, will recall as not too heavy the tug of those albatrosses I sadly placed upon their tender necks.

Hope for the past, yes, old Frost, your words provide that courage, and it brings strange peace that itself passes into past, easier to bear because you said it, rather casually, as snow went on falling in Vermont years ago.

~ David Ray, “Thanks, Robert Frost.”

 


David Ray, 82, was born in Sapulpa, Oklahoma. Ray comes from a broken home that was thrown into upheaval when his father left the family by hopping on the back of a watermelon truck headed to California. After his mother’s next failed marriage ended in the suicide of Ray’s stepfather, he and his sister Mary Ellen were placed into foster care—a system that wasn’t kind to young children in the late 1930s and early 1940s. Ray’s classic “Mulberries of Mingo” steeps from memories of he and his sister being thrown out of a foster families home at dinner time – to fend for themselves eating the mulberries from a neighbor’s tree. The years that followed were dark and tragic as he and his sister were separated to face their separate nightmares of abuse. He is a distinguished award winner, and has lectured and read at over 100 Universities in England, Canada and the U.S. Graduating from the University of Chicago, BA, MA. Ray’s poetry varies from short, three to four lines pieces, to longer 30 lines poems. His work is also often autobiographical, providing unique context and insight to scenes of childhood, love, fear, sex, and travel. “Communication is important to him, and he has the courage, working with a genre in which simplicity is suspect, to say plainly what he means.” He and his wife, poet and essayist Judy Ray, live in Tucson, Arizona.

Studs Terkel: David Ray’s poetry has always been radiant even though personal tragedy has suffused it.” [Read more…]

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