what it’s like when memories die

it’s like they’ve all leaked out.
the flavor of your words.
were they butterscotch or
just butter?
what i wouldn’t give to taste
one straggling orphan word
from our missing
from the lips of your mouth.
ostensibly, i’d give
a lung. i’d give a hoot,
a holler, a hundred thousand dollars.
i wouldn’t be asking
if i wasn’t homeless &starving
for your voice right now.
if only i had recorded it
i’d be lapping up every syllable now
instead of writing about it like a waif
wandering around on the page
hearing only the ticking
of this merciless clock
i myself hung
on this despondent wall.
were your words like butter?

for Blogging University


15 thoughts on “what it’s like when memories die

  1. I love the stream of consciousness – much like how memories flow – that’s why I write to remember. Also, don’t know if you’re aware of this but http://www.storycorps.org has many projects dedicated to preserving the voice of everyday people. [Every year, I interview a family member in depth during the “National Day of Listening” (usually the day after Thanksgiving) to record the sound of their voice for posterity.] I really miss the sound of my father’s voice, btw. I have a few snippets and I treasure them. I loved your poem, btw, Mosk

    1. I’m missing my grandma’s speech right now. She could talk your ear off, but for the life of me I couldn’t tell you one thing she might say right now! I hate that blank memory bank. I’ve interviewed her and others before, but the voice is such a signature.

      1. Exactly. It’s one thing to know what he said, it’s another to hear it – and that’s not because he accidentally mispronounced words he only read and never heard before. (Favorite example, he thought chaos was pronounced “chowse.”

  2. I lost my mom almost 7 years ago to pancreatic cancer. I was fortunate enough to have saved a birthday message she and my dad left on the last birthday I spent with her. This message has been forwarded and copied and forwarded again. I listen to it every year on my birthday and when I just need to hear my mom’s voice again. Great poem!

      1. Yes, it is a true gift. As you saw on my blog, it is my job to keep my mom’s memory alive – a promise made exactly 7 years ago today.

  3. The words are put together wondrously here. The phrase “one straggling orphan word” is filled with meaning and sensation. Overall, an experience is created for readers who were not there, remembering someone keenly whom we will never meet. Thanks! (Devices such as “holler” and “dollars” for assonant-consonant rhyme work well, too.)

  4. I frickin’ love this.
    This, especially:
    “hearing only the ticking
    of this merciless clock
    i myself hung
    on this despondent wall.”

    And the whole concept of tasting words…craving them…lapping up syllables.
    And all those things you’d give. Just wonderful.

    1. I hate it when the good ones come easy, and the ones I toil over turn to toads. The pen is a two-edged sword. I know and love it. Nice to hear your off-the-cuff remarks which mean a lot to me. (Because they don’t sound like off-the-cuff remarks,)

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