Barcelona

July 4, 2020

I imagine you on a cold day in Barcelona, wind
Lashing the spires of Sagrada Familia and the palm trees
By the beach dreaming of Africa, listening
To obscenities shouted by the waves.
I imagine you with a leather coat
And lapis earrings and a blouse almost
As smooth as your skin. There is a glass
Of wine in front of you and inside the wine
A little fire. We finished talking a long time ago,
But neither one of us has the courage to leave.

George Franklin

I am an old man now, but then I was already past my prime when Arthur was crowned King. The years since then seem to me now more dim and faded than the earlier years, as if my life were a growing tree which burst to flower and leaf with him, and now has nothing more to do than yellow to the grave.

This is true of all old men, that the recent past is misted, while distant scenes of memory are clear and brightly coloured. Even the scenes of my far childhood come back to me now sharp and high-coloured and edged with brightness, like the pattern of a fruit tree against a white wall, or banners in sunlight against a sky of storm.

The colours are brighter than they were, of that I are sure. The memories that come back to me here in the dark are seen with the new young eyes of childhood; they are so far gone from me, with their pain no longer present, that they unroll like pictures of something that happened, not to me, not to the bubble of bone that this memory used to inhabit, but to another Merlin as young and light and free of the air and spring winds as the bird she named me for.

With the later memories it is different; they come back, some of them, hot and shadowed, things seen in the fire. For this is where I gather them. This is one of the few trivial tricks – I cannot call it power–left to me now that I am old and stripped at last down to man. I can see still. . . not clearly or with the call of trumpets as I once did, but in the child’s way of dreams and pictures in the fire. I can still make the flames burn up or die; it is one of the simplest of magics, the most easily learned, the last forgotten. What I cannot recall in dream I see in the flames, the red heart of the fire or the countless mirrors of the crystal cave.

The first memory of all is dark and fireshot. It is not my own memory, but later you will understand how I know these things. You would call it not memory so much as a dream of the past, something in the blood, something recalled from him, it may be, while he still bore me in his body. I believe that such things can be. So it seems to me right that I should start with him who was before me, and who will be again when I am gone.

This is what happened that night. I saw it, and it is a true tale.

Mary Stewart
The Crystal Cave

Memory

May 31, 2020

Memory is simply another name for ghosts.

Skin to skin

April 26, 2020

Oh, skin to skin with you at dawn – remember? And the words you spoke?

Writers remember everything…especially the hurts. Strip a writer to the buff, point to the scars, and he’ll tell you the story of each small one. From the big ones you get novels. A little talent is a nice thing to have if you want to be a writer, but the only real requirement is the ability to remember the story of every scar.

Art consists of the persistence of memory.

Stephen King
Misery

The language of dream

March 1, 2020

There is a language older by far and deeper than words. It is the language of bodies, of body on body, wind on snow, rain on trees, wave on stone. It is the language of dream, gesture, symbol, memory. We have forgotten this language. We do not even remember that it exists.

Derrick Jensen
A Language Older Than Words

We do not remember childhood

February 26, 2020

Children are not like us. They are beings apart: impenetrable, unapproachable. They inhabit not our world but a world we have lost and can never recover. We do not remember childhood — we imagine it. We search for it, in vain, through layers of obscuring dust, and recover some bedraggled shreds of what we think it was. And all the while the inhabitants of this world are among us, like aborigines, like Minoans, people from elsewhere safe in their own time-capsule.

Penelope Lively
Moon Tiger

For me, life becomes real when I write it. What I don’t write is erased by the winds of oblivion. I forget a lot, my mind betrays me. I can’t recall places, names, dates, or faces, but I never forget a good story or a significant dream. Writing is a silent introspection, a journey to the dark caverns of memory and the soul. Fiction, like memory, moves from revelation to revelation.

Isabel Allende
Why I Write

FRIDAY

December 20, 2019

I have fallen into Friday and
never slept, like deep scars
hanging white the exhaust of
memory. Where long before
dawn, I missed the sheets
on an unmade bed, porcine
of undressed skin stitching
through threads. Fingers felt
to the length of hips where
denim thumbed the black, I
startle the moonrise giving
pale corseted with my window.
But it was easy to memorize
the nothing without feeling for
its wrinkle or smooth, where
I bore the hollow, got skinny in
my limbs stilling a girl from
spinning herself out of shadow.

Lana Bella

December

December 7, 2019

When my body had forgotten its purpose,
when it just hung off my brainstem like whipped mule.
When my hands only wrote. When my mouth only ate.
When my ass sat, my eyes read, when my reflexes
were answers to questions we all already knew.
Remember how it was then that you slid your hand
into me, a fork in the electric toaster of my body. Jesus,
where did all these sparks come from? Where was all
this heat? Remember what this mouth did last night?
And still, this morning I answer the phone like normal,
still I drink an hour’s worth of strong coffee. And now
I file. And now I send an email. And remember how
my lungs filled with all that everything? Remember
how my heart was an animal you released from its cage?
Remember how we unhinged? Remember all the names
our bodies called each other? Remember how afterwards,
the steam rose from us, like a pair of smiling ghosts?

Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz