chocolate is a verb

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Tag Archives: forgetting

found poem: the architecture



I don’t remember history. Events are conflated into a bad movie, without acts, only action, and many characters and many scenes. There’s no chronology stitching things in order. Thomas Edison and Mary, Queen of Scots, waltz together across the slippery floor of my memory along with Benjamin Franklin and Anaïs Nin, George Clooney and Emily Dickinson, Sigmund Freud and RuPaul.

operator error…

reading in bedNobody’s fault but my own, yet sometimes I forget to do the simplest things. I forget to put on music and dance around the living room like a crazy person. I forget to sit up in bed and read. I forget to call people I love. These are things that make me feel good, they’re the lottery I can win every day. And yet there’s always the tsunami of busy-ness, little tasks, work, excuses, that crowd into my thoughts and make me forget.

Reading before sleep is a lifelong habit. Yet, for months I’ve been reading only as much as I could read lying down — seldom more than five pages, if that, before my lids flap down and the book becomes impossibly heavy. It’s been taking me weeks to read a book instead of days. I’d forgotten this simple act of sitting up, cozy in the cocoon of my down comforter, lost for hours in the book of the moment.

I suppose it doesn’t matter why, only that I’ve managed to elbow aside this act of forgetfulness and rediscover a lost pleasure.

I have to go now. The music is calling…


erased blackboardSomeone had erased the blackboard. Now it was a blur of chalky streaks, the tails of a few letters emerging from the blankness here and there. They hadn’t bothered to clean the eraser first, and a sprinkle of fine white dust littered the chalk tray below the board and the few broken stubs of chalk that populated its length.

She sat in the oak chair, back to the classroom, back to the desk, and considered the gray expanse. The notes carefully taped to the far end, near the door, would offer no clue. She had sought their wisdom before.

The room was still. No whispers or giggles, no shuffling of papers or feet. Only the click click click click of the clock, the second hand erasing time as it crept past each black number.
erased blackboard


Binary Chalkboard by Ruki OygarEach morning, there were smudges on the chalkboard, indecipherable scrawls, blooms of dusty chalk, as her dreams escaped, rushing away ahead of her awakening. Rarely, a shard of sound or the image of a word lingered or returned to her unbidden later in the day.

She had been such a good dreamer, remembering, recording the tableaus that unfolded each night in the theater of her sleep. But now, even the pen and paper at her bedside, the words of encouragement she spoke to herself before sleep, had little effect. What had changed? Some chemistry of the body? Some artifact of aging? A subtle shift in the patterns of her sleeping or waking? She saw it as a failing, a weakness, a disappointment, this unremembering.

She wanted her dreams. She wanted the image and sound and texture of them to loiter in her memory. She held the chalk, ready to chronicle their return.
Binary Chalkboard painting by Ruki Oygar


…the memory was there, a seed stuck in his tooth, and he let his mind circle it as he half-read the newspaper, the same stories as yesterday and last month, the red pin on the world map of disaster moved an inch this way or that.

Forgetting had not yet become his familiar, but was a disliked cousin whose arrival, and extended visit, he anticipated, and feared. He thought of his mother, saw the four of them sitting at the kitchen table. Words, names, objects had always been a bit slippery for her, just beyond her grasp when she needed them, Tricia filling in the blanks so effortlessly that it became a family joke. The forgetting had advanced unevenly, patches of moss covering the bare soil, invading the lawn, until even Tricia couldn’t groom Jo’s untidy thoughts.

Their father’s mind had remained acute to the end, his assured sentences, paragraphs, logical and shapely. In the telling, similar, but sometimes incorrect, details were easily edited into his stories to replace those occasionally forgotten. Only those closest to him knew these minor colorations of his favorite reminiscences.

So Taylor watched for the signs — the stalled thoughts, the false confidence, the know-it-all tone of his own voice — and steered himself away from labored recollection to allow his wayward memory find its way home.

The nudge of Linus’s nose against his calf brought him back to the table, the newspaper, the morning and the worrying of his tongue against the stuck seed of something forgotten…