18: January 2018 #09 - Ruins of a Memory Palace

Authored by Jen Durbent

Ruins of a Memory Palace

by Jen Durbent


I don't memorize my poetry because
I don't trust my memory.
My memory does tricks like
You coulda and You shoulda and
You asked for it.
I keep kind notes in my purse.
I keep them safe.
I keep them so
I remember:
people like me
people love me
my dog feels what dogs feel.
At least his tail wags, shedding hair
I will sweep up later.
Without the kind words
I just remember:
I hate you.
You're ugly.
Nobody wants you.
You're retarded.
My memory does tricks:
when I see a cop, I remember
when I was 4, I was handcuffed
and laughed at and fingerprinted.
[As an aside: this ruined bondage
until I discovered leather, latex,
and rope.]
When I smell pot, I remember
the man
who tainted
the joint that we smoked
and all the ones I
turned down after.
Despite my best efforts I do not
the birth
of my children
and I don't know if that's because of my
awful, terrible, no good brain
or because I was the second most exhausted person
in the room, and
then the third.
[Do not tell them, but it is
not like they would remember either.]
Texts from the woman
who says she hates me
are 1000x more in my memory
that the countless I love yous.
That part is true
that she tells me she loves me.
I wrote it down
just now
just so I would have something
to trust.
I hate my memory.
I hate scenes never forgotten.
My memory does tricks after all.
If you're too good to me,
it might make you disappear.
Maybe my memory munges up,
made mincemeat by my metaphysical
I feel as if I have lived two lives:
the first life with evidence,
                what my notes say,
                what loves,
                what recommendations,
                what money and therefore symbols that people give
                when they say your words are worth something,
and the other life of memory,
               what I remember,
               what I wish I could forget.
I might have missed the point here.
I meant to copy pasta, to trans scribe
the good parts of my life so I can't forget:
My daughter braiding my hair
Her helping me learn to
Wing the eyeliner just so.
[You can make over a tran
and she's cute for a night;
or you can teach her
and she can have style
her whole life.]
I meant to write the thank yous
               that the kind words deserve
               the days I wake up and read them and
               that gets me up and out of bed and through the day,
including this morning,
to read this to you.
Thank you, Jenny.
Thank you, loves.
Thank you all you bright and rising angels.
Thank you.
Despite what RuPaul
and the self-help books say,
I can love you.
I hate myself better than anyone
               but I love you,
And that I will never forget.