Eileen R. Tabios

6. I Forgot the Plasticity of Recognition

I forgot your mouth became a cave stuffed with another woman’s hair.

I forgot that sense of approaching a labyrinth.

I forgot tentative acacia trees waiting behind sand dunes.

I forgot gardenias were crushed for perfume entrusted with cancelling midnights.

I forgot you drowning in the Seychelles.

I forgot Burkina Faso.

I forgot the summer-dusted landscape of Gambia.

I forgot the Introduction as a permanent state.

I forgot sentences like veins.

I forgot an island replete with chastened alleyways.

I forgot audacity, at times, must be a private affair.

I forgot the flock with tin feathers.

I forgot pride is more adept than eye in discerning the invisible.

I forgot the plasticity of recognition, e.g. silk, moonlight, velvet, crème brulee, honey on fingertip, awkward blood.

I forgot the sun can hum along.

I forgot laughter is not comprised of stars.

I forgot a water lily forms instantaneously.

I forgot the inevitability of ashes.

I forgot memory contains an underbrush.

I forgot water becoming like love: miserable and lovely.

I forgot it was not a blood teardrop—simply, the last red pepper hanging from a string in front of a white wall.

I forgot, for him, she released milk to orphaned baby birds.

A Process Note on the Poem and the Poetry Folio:
One night, I mated with Insomnia and, together, we birthed what I’m calling “The MDR Poetry Generator”—a project that can generate poems from a database of 1,146 lines. One such poem is “No. 6. I Forgot the Plasticity of Recognition.” Then I mated with Insomnia once more and, together, we birthed the idea of asking several poets to respond to the poem. Ultimately, I chose six poets because the title of my poem begins with “No. 6.” (There’s no numerical complexity to the reference to “6”—it’s simply the sixth poem in AMNESIA, a manuscript-in-progress.) I initially asked the poets to respond with “I Remember” poems but dropped that constraint for the last two participants, Leny M. Strobel and Anne Gorrick. I am grateful to the poets for their generous responses.

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