I will always remember
going down into the kitchen
one morning and my daughter
is grumbling at the table
angry over string theory
i mean she wanted to slap somebody
I will always remember
sunset at the beach, we were in Florence,
and in Cannon Beach, and up north in Washington
my daughters sitting in camping
chairs at a bonfire
when i am honest, this year has been
for many of us
my mom froze to death in January
under sad circumstances
she didn’t have coming
my photo app sent me a memory
a collage of pictures of the beach,
my daughters from 2019
my wife and me from earlier this year
over for the funeral
I had momentarily forgotten we went
to the beach
but I had wanted to show her places
i went to with our kids because I had wanted
to show our kids where I had been
with their mother when we were young
when i am honest, it’s kind of a mush
in my memory banks
i see ruby beach, I see a tent
cobbled together from laundry
line and plastic tarps
I see a skunk lured back out of
our tent with cookies
they ask me what do you
want to do now
i want to live, i want
to experiment, i want
to make more memories
i want to love and be
kind but sometimes I also
want to slap a physicist
So it was a hard year
in some ways for
some of us
be kind to yourselves
be kind to each other
make good memories
this is what we got
this right here
this swirling galaxy
swirling in a snail shell
Tag Archives: memory
I will always remember
what was it
there was something
what was it though
was it something about a crow?
i stuck my nose in a spider web
while watering the thistles
that is how i discovered the
writing spider in the back yard
that wasn’t it, either
although it was the biggest and most
beautiful spider i have ever seen up close
and i mean up close
i rode my bike to the train station
i will be retiring some day and
to save money i have been considering
getting rid of my car and riding a bike.
maybe that was it.
my bike is very old.
for a bike.
i used to run my daughters around on it
in a little child’s seat.
they’re all grown up now.
it needed new tires because the old ones
had rotted off
and kept going flat.
so i got cool new tires that never go flat.
and i checked the sky before
going to the train station
because it always rains when i ride my bike
but the skies were blue.
the first thing that happened
the chain fell off the front gear
i got that back on
then the tail light cover
fell off and clacked along
i got that back on too.
my bike is a three speed now
because i can only shift the front gears
the back thing
no longer works.
but that’s okay bc it’s flat
where i live, the landscape.
when i told my family about it
my daughter asked
were you leaving a trail of parts
so you could find your way home?
was that it?
was it that my wife had to give me a ride home
from the station that night
because it was raining so hard?
i don’t think that was it either.
this is driving me nuts.
I don’t know if you do this.
Maybe you do this. Maybe it’s universal:
measure all other memories by this one memory you have.
Not necessarily a dramatic or rambunctious one.
For me it is the time I sat in the bamboo patch next to my uncle’s junk pile.
The main quality is one of peace. I was about 3-4 years old, so not in school yet.
No obligations. Summer. Warm – I had a beagle pal cuddling and watching out for me.
I was wearing bib overalls and a felt hat.
Watching chickens, those nourishing animals, scratch in the dirt.
Watching their shadows, and the shadows of the bamboo, playing in the light.
Listening to the sounds the chickens made.
No other humans to make happy or proud or otherwise perform for.
Just the peace. Lots of time. Animals. Plants. Smells. Interesting light.
You read this post at Whiskey River so you are on the lookout.
Say you are putting on your pants and trying not to step on a cat that likes your feet in the morning.
The bed is already made, underwear is already on, and pants are next.
Gray pants, part of the gray suit because there are no holes in the pockets of the gray suit yet, unlike most of the black suits, and you are not in the mood to chase keys and hearing aid batteries around the lining of your suit jacket today.
You remember pissing your pants in your mom’s car when you were a little boy.
On the way to the train station, you tell your grown kid about it.
It was hot in the car, and I had to pee bad, you tell her. I thought, if I just let out a drop or two, maybe it will cool me off.
Your mom often drove all over town, what she called running errands, and took you with her.
It was hot, your bladder was full, and when you finally let a drop out there was no stopping.
Imagine your relief when she didn’t spank you. You had thought you were going to get it.
Your kid says, huh.
Imagine it had taken you all the years since then (even though you almost never remembered that event) to realize she had locked a little boy in a car on a hot day, and had not bothered to consider whether he might have a full bladder, and he was not to blame.
My little brother sent me some short videos this week.
It went like this: he transferred VHS tapes to a DVD. Then he played the videos from the DVD on his computer, and filmed the monitor with his iPhone. Then he sent me the iPhone videos via a social media site, and I forwarded them to my family.
The quality of the videos was of course poor; not only were the original tapes nearly 30 years old, each step transferring, copying and refilming degraded them further.
And yet: they were still superior to my own memories of the events — a visit we paid to my family in the United States when our oldest daughter was one year old.
Alpha and I are now older than my parents are in the videos.
The house in which we sing Happy Birthday has since burned in an arson fire, and then been torn down to make way for a mall parking lot.
Some details were only slightly surprising: Beta is a serious baby in the video. I remember that she was a serious baby, but she was even more serious than I recall.
Some details contradicted our memories entirely: for 30 years, we have told Beta she never crawled, just went straight from rolling to walking. But in the video she crawls just fine. She was a fast crawler, chasing my parents’ wiener dog all over the living room.
To be honest, the videos freaked me out a little.
The speed at which time passes, for one thing. How people just die, two people from the video, for example, but time just keeps going.
But we know that. What really freaked me out was how the evidence contradicted our memories. I know I forget things. We all forget things. I know I have forgotten most of my life, when it comes down to it. But to see blurry, grainy but genuine evidence that even the little bit I remember is false, that’s freaky.
It’s one thing to read somewhere that memory is nothing but stories we tell ourselves, and that any particular memory is altered to a greater or lesser extent with each re-telling, but to actually see the proof like that makes you wonder what else you’re wrong about.
What grudges you’d be better off dropping.
What pain you could let go.
I feel like such an idiot.
For days I’ve been thinking about the Leonids and when the best time will be to watch them.
And the best place.
Lying in my hammock staring skyward.
And it’s the PERSEIDS!
The Leonids aren’t until NOVEMBER!
Plus the Leonids make me think of Brezhnev.
At the window in Connemara
I see seven things my father loved:
a brand new sunrise in a rainy sky
ponies in a grassy pasture
trees bending in wind
a white shed
heavy machinery (a red backhoe)
a wood plank corral
his granddaughter, still asleep