There were so many of us gathered there I decided to sit alone and observe all I could see.
This is something I have never been able to do, at least not to either myself or Cathleen’s satisfaction. I have memory, though. It is like Will Blake might have said (but did not), So flies eternity’s sunrise when memory is the worm in the mind.
We are all gathered, as I say . . . in various states of dress and undress. This is the room of what I remember, and it is not pretty, though much of it is beautiful just the same. There were so many mistakes, careless ones and those only a fool knows how to do and does what he can to fuck up the works of life. I have no faith. I may as well go to the devil.
What would I do when I arrived?
What, indeed, did I do?
. . . in Whitman’s land of the “fabled damned”
he feared it would become . . .
If I were sleeping, it was as restless as a leg trapped in the pit of dreams. That is not what I saw, though. All around were the beloved in my life, beginning where love begins, always where we do not know when we are little what we are for and migrate from mother to lover with such ease we never want to be old, and here I am, asleep if not dead . . .
If I were always alive, I remember nothing before my mother. I should have seen the wheel in time to perceive its motions, the cogs that carry us around the circles and spirals that amount to what we will never know because we have not yet arrived anew, following the remorseless tempo to keep revolving as though life were a Ferris wheel.
Alas, I tip and recline upside down. I wanted all my old loves to be here, and only the new ones have appeared. Cathleen is not here, and she may not be, I do not know. I keep dreaming she finds another man in time to thwart my effort to keep her for myself, and I should know better, she says, and I have said, more than once, I agree.
Those undressed dress again and those dressed until now shed their garments.
Do I move?
Why should I?
I do not even know where I am going.
All is told and retold, foretold and recalled. Mnemonic devices fill the room. Everyone here has one. Because I do not believe in such things I scoff at the divulgence of strings of rawhide, pebbles with faces, pieces whose origins are known only to the bearer, for he or she is protector or protectress of their own time, their own skin, their own historical dreams.
It is time to go. The feet rise. The legs move. I am hellbent on the door and going through it. Nobody here sees me go, they are in the service of others. And I am tired of being seen.
There are reasons, I suppose, I arrived here during the orgy of existence. I did not know I had come so far my memory would be the first to go.
(20 October 2011)
copyright 2011 by Floyce Alexander