Sunday, June 23, 2013

'Forgetfulness: A Series'

As mentioned last January, my poem, "Forgetfulness: A Series," was accepted for publication in the 2013 Bacopa Literary Review, which is based in Gainesville, Florida. The Review was released last month, and I still haven't received my contributor's copy (they initially sent it to Iloilo, Philipines [sic]). [Update, June 29: My copy's finally here!] The writers, as stated in the website, come from India to Ireland, Canada to the Chuvash Republic, Indonesia to Nigeria.

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Tell me again of that city we built
with only the mud and stone that filled the garden
behind our house. It was beautiful, yes? How the buildings
spiralled to the sky with blatant ambition, how their windows
reflected the light coming from the stars, seeming to create
towers of fire visibly burning from a thousand miles.
I remember the chimney with its red brick,
the front door pavement chipping away on the edges,
the moss that colored the white-washed walls
perpetually wet with rain and sprinkler water.
I remember the morning views from our bedroom, how the clouds
would seem to glide past the shrubbery thriving on the terrace.
Those were cold mornings, weren't they? How we'd shiver
in bed, layer our bodies with blankets bought fifteen years ago
in some flea market in Bangkok. Good times, I remember.


Remember, grandmother says, the stories you once knew
by heart. But my grandmother is fast fading away,
too eager, it seems, to take her shadow's place on the wooden floor.

Her sly lips no longer part as often, no longer spill the secrets
she kept from the ten thousand people she'd met in her life. She only
to the gentle sway of her rocking chair, only speaks in her dreams.

Remember youth. Remember running down endless leaf-laden trails,
spending nights in haunted woods, waking to mornings filled with
from a hundred curious animals. How you stood on a cliff

gazing longingly at the bluish blur of a distant castle. Those days
were the best of your life, when adventure not merely consisted
of midnight trips to the bathroom or boiling water in the kitchen,

but much more, much farther. Substance comes to those
whose age deserves it - but my grandmother, who sits silent
on her rocking chair, never had a voyager's soul, nor a hunter's heart.


Think only of one thing, of something that will make you remember:
the gifts, the boxes of jewellery, the bouquets that cost a fortune.
The meanings we crafted for our words, the pictures we painted with
    our sentences.
Think of the tender kisses we planted on each other's neck, of our
searching the maps of our bodies for islands lost forever in the ocean
of skin-draped flesh. Afternoons standing on the balcony, a naked
displayed before the sea and the sunset. Good times, I remember.

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