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 clearly remember 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 once 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 conundrum. 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, too. And that I will never forget.