Friday, October 17, 2014

Re-learning how to remember

It's been a really, really hard week.  

This poem is one I wrote a few years ago that has been on my mind repetitively this week.  I changed some wording that I never liked...and I still think it's too long...but remembering has a lot of steps, no?

The lines in my head today were: "Remember the details.  Relinquish your fear."

There are so many times you have to learn how to remember, and learn how to remember, and learn how to remember again.  

I'm re-learning how to remember.

How to Remember

Forget about it.
Insist that it's not bad
not important
not infuriating.
Walk through the darkness and feel your heart squeeze.
Push thoughts and feelings out through your pores.
Take your panic and dump it in the garbage can that smells like desolation.
Reach into your chest and find your heart,
a surprising blue color and slimy cold.
Feel disappointed in yourself:
you know despair has never looked good on you.

Grab and pulsate your heart in a rhythm you control.
Convince yourself this is not an act of self-preservation, but insanity.
Keep squeezing, hands bloodied and eyes red 'til others stay away.
Realize they're afraid of what parasite is living in you,
what curse has come over you,
what germ has infected you,
afraid you could be
Push them away.
Feel yourself drowning.
Keep smiling.

Find a mask.
Pick it up and examine it.
Describe it as stoic, with a Mona Lisa expression
that could be sad if you look at it right, but smiles on first glance.
Consider it perfect.
Check the price tag, even though you know your
first-born child, right arm, and a leg would be worth it.
Steal the mask and tell the world you'll pay it off later.
Examine your tools and choose denial as the one with the sharpest edge
for digging your way out of trouble.
Feel ashamed, but know
it's worth it if you're going to survive.

Take the mask to an alley.
Drop it on the concrete and
throw it against the wall.
Leave it in the rain and examine it again.
See that it survived,
take it home and put it on.
Try to assume its persona.
Spend time getting to know
the new you.

Love yourself,
hate yourself,
then start over.
Walk through the darkness.
Breathe in the panic and revel in the night.
Feel a primal destructive urge and turn it inward.
Stop showering and lose your mascara.
Don't eat.
Try not moving from your couch.
Eat chocolate and
don't sleep.
Attempt to never sit down.
Sleep too much.
Never stop smiling.
Grow accustomed to the mask.
Tell yourself it's over.
Wipe your hands and believe you have
moved on.

Go to bed thrashing.
Wake up crying heart-bleeding sounds.
Tell yourself it doesn't matter and ignore your tears.
Sleep, fitfully, and wake again, screaming.
Beat your mattress in frustration and scream again, fully awake.
Scare your neighbors and forget to care.
Stop smiling.

Peel off the mask, carefully, and drop it on the bathroom floor.
Smile as you watch it shatter.
Burn candles at both ends and stare into the flames.
Search for symbolism in sunsets, stars, stairs,
stand on street corners with cardboard signs
begging for spare answers and
come home with an empty cup.

Forgive him.
Say "screw forgiveness" and stop believing in god.
Believe in sunrise, even if you hate it:
it's the only thing that's certain.
Sleep with a pen for the times you need to slaughter him at 3AM.
Write poems on your sheets by moonlight that consist only of the words "fuck you."
Sleep with a flashlight to catch nightmares in the act.
Murder them with your sleep-deprived ferocity.
Stop writing.
Reach into your chest and grab your heart.
Pump its luke-warm smoothness into some semblance of a rhythm.
Wash the pink goo from your fingers and smell shame.
Watch it go down the drain.

Tell your story.
Watch people disbelieve
disrespect you and start over.
Work your way back and tell it again.
Remember the details.
Relinquish your fear.
Realize this is not your shame.
Tell it again, insisting it is important enough
bad enough, and
Reach into your chest and grab your heart.
Feel it pumping its red, healthy blood
and smell courage.
Pull your hands out clean.

Stand on a street corner.
Leave your cup at home.
Hold signs reading "1 in 4,"
and pray for change.
Walk down a dark alley.
Breathe out the panic.
Feel the memory in your bones and
remember you have

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