Over half way through 16 days of action. It’s been both harder and easier than I thought.
Now I am returning, I’m interested in how the mode of address in the sequence changes – that there are more and more poems addressed to a ‘you’ as it progresses.
It’s like walking in a place I’ve been to before, but seeing it from horseback instead of from the ground.
Or like I’m on a boat, and the place where I used to walk is flooded, but with the clearest water, and I can see straight down to the path, straight through my own face reflected back at me.
I have an aversion to poems with the word ‘memory’ in them. I decide I don’t like them. Although I love the word ‘remember’. It is the vagueness of ‘memory’ I don’t like. Whereas ‘remember’ feels like a physical thing.
And then I find this poem called ‘Memory’ by Lawson Fusao Inada and it is full of memory and I realise I don’t dislike this word at all, that I have made up a rule to keep myself safe from poetry in some way, and that my rule was arbitrary and stupid, because I love this poem.
Memory is an old Mexican woman
sweeping her yard with a broom
I can’t remember your fingernails
but I remember the quick movement
of your hands, how you rolled each
cigarette, your tongue licking the paper.
For months I found brown twists
of tobacco in the creases of clothes,
filters in their plastic sleeves
or delicate papers spread like wings.
I can’t remember a single thing we said
to one another but I remember your
black leather jacket, your one pair
of good black trousers. I remember
arguing all night, but not what about.
I remember sleep was something
that did not belong to me. I swear
I remember nothing, just your outline
at the foot of the bed, you are shouting
as if calling me from some distant shore,
but there’s no such thing as sound,
no such thing as shore.