memory

Nothing is ever deleted from human memory. Every experience, whether sad or glad, once accommodated by the mind, stays there forever. Just like a child in her mother’s heart.

Of course there are experiences that we forget, especially the ones that cause us pain. But they are not deleted; they just recede. And this is an inescapable trickery of memory: those that we deem erased just suddenly surface, more vivid than ever.

Like guerrillas, unwanted memories assault when and where they are least expected, always during vulnerable moments. Some with the stunning sharpness of a glass shard, others with the lulling gentleness of a moth’s wings. Either way, memories carry just one mission: to disturb and inflict pain. Yes, memory is more cruel than it is kind.

So we resort to deleting, only to realize that it generates the opposite of what we want to achieve. Instead of slaying the enemy we just make it fiercer. The heavier the stone we crush upon it, the stronger it becomes, the more entrenched it turns. Escape from it? The farther we stride away from it, the larger it looms before us, the nearer and more taunting it stares at us.

What do we do then? Nothing, just breathe. When it attacks, welcome it, face it smiling and without any resistance for from resistance it draws power. Let it coil into whatever shape it wants to manifest itself – just let it be, just laugh it off. Soon the growling monster will become a cooing child, so tender and helpless that we want to breastfeed it.

So since we can’t delete a memory, we must just dilute and befriend it. Just by doing nothing, just by accepting that we are god and demon at the same time – a creature called human that can wrath, gloom, love, and lust.

a sudden thud hit my groin

1.
A sudden thud hit my groin –
a nameless force so strong
that I lost the light.
And I lay there on the street,
baring my breast to the beast
roaming around in my dreams.
Why can’t I slay her? Why,
with all the powers of silence
and sighs, can’t I slay her?
The moment I think of defeating her,
she lurks with the fangs
that glitter under the wounded moon.

2.
No one needs death. Dying
is just a trickery of sorrow,
pretending to maim, to numb the senses.
But even in death, metaphors hover
and haunt the poet. Death,
therefore, never settles anything;
it only sharpens whatever dreams have blurred.
Symbols strike their targets so shortly
that they fade the moment they assume
meaning.

3.
Cotton candies taste like wine.
Try them with your eyes closed
and feel the clouds swirl in your throat.
Extend your hands sideways
and you’ll know how birds learn to fly.
Flap your hands and your face will bathe in fog –
so pure, so blue, bleeding like a bloodless corpse.

Imagination is not fond of mimicry;
it conjures only what is real but yet unrevealed.

4.
‘Why should your body lie on this forlorn street my child?’
God asked me. And I felt that my skin is of earth and on it
crisscross spiky beliefs and ideologies of self-righteousness
of bigotry, of maiming, of killing.

5.
Survive! you who fit this wretched world the most;
but bear the brunt of the scourge of impotency.
Emmanuel, your god is in you. Summon the demon,
let it prostrate before you, but bear in mind the bareness
and barrenness of this truth: prostate gland
can never desecrate what is sacred.

6.
Scared of scars and scarcity,
the economists hurl holy rocks
against the howling wilderness of hunger.
Why can’t they turn these stones into bread?
Why can’t they turn these wastes into waving
waistlines of wisemen who visited Jesus in the manger?

7.
I can no longer dream of a white christmas,
my measled toe is burning with love
of Africa. Mandela, how many prisons
does a man need to gain the world market of ideas
and orgasms? Why can’t we eject our souls like a cd?

8.
Spring sprouts like tubers, but plumbing needs tubes
and plastic straw through which the public trust
will be sucked and pubic hairs
will be hot oiled and groomed.

9.
Some of the giants are really gigantic,
like the tsunamis braved by muro ami’s.
But even then, the vase of roses still tantalize
the eyes of a lion. And the sea shells,
the sea shells just lie there like my body,
waiting but not expecting anyone.
Just there, ready to offer the songs of the sea
for those who understand why do an abandoned corpse
decompose while a moribund composition uplift the soul.

10.
Enlighten me my friend: is life really just a wink?

31 january/ 13 february 2007