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Memory: An Act of Forgetting

September 25, 2012

“Where Memory Resides”: Bridgette Guerzon Mills

Memory: An Act of Forgetting

Right now, just like that
I let a memory of you
Slip through my sleeve
And drop, plop, on the floor.
It had sniveled
Sniveled long
Long up my sleeve!

Really? How did you do it? 

I just shrugged.
This is what Muhammad
Made them do
When they sneaked
Idols up their sleeves
When arraying for prayers.
Fools! Did they really believe
They could contain Omniscience,
The Lord, the Almighty Himself?

And then any conversation, anywhere
A thought of you descends in my eyes
Suddenly I am looking yet not looking
I am listening yet not listening
I am talking yet not talking
I get visions of Mahadev
Slaking evil, turning blue
The word in its grandeur
Unfurls on me – ‘imbue’
I know now exactly what it means
To not lose myself and still be you.

Oh, that was easy!
I thought memories
Were like henna
That taints your heart
In a Ghalib couplet.
As hard to remove
As nails from toes.

And then in another space
My fellow actor and I rehearse
He screams the script
“A vice… grabbing…” my feet?
A memory of a memory once told
Somersaults, tears through, holds forth
Of a man walking through winter fields
Finds a snake entwined around his legs.
He catches the beast by its head,
Frees himself, and continues walking
As if it had never appeared.

Ah! Balderdash!
They’re just other people’s bags
You’re forced to carry
Too happy to lose
Too happy to never have possessed

Right now, just like that
I let a memory of you
Slip through my sleeve
It had sniveled
Sniveled long
Long enough to be blasphemous
Long enough for me too
To hold on any further
To our ever present past.
Like a Baul
I must find an unfettered God.


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