Marthe Reed

I remember the inevitability of ashes

I remember the clemencies and clotting heat of summer, her impossibly long hair sheared away, secure in an ivory box.

I remember blood eschews paradise.

I remember drowning amid the labyrinth and the secret potency of drawers.

I remember flowers venture everything, nothing.

I remember ricefields and lakefish, chilis afloat like sullen gems.

I remember acacias’ fierce refusal of shade abjures solace, how night resides in Gaudi’s profligate geometry.

I remember the inevitability of ashes.

I remember the seas, the milk and choler of the southern coast.

I remember an island requites its single alleyway, night jasmine exceeding the tolling of bells.

I remember his laughter, fountain waking the air of our rooms.

I remember the audacity of daylilies and the cat’s tongue.

I remember cicada-song is also the swain’s.

I remember the rupture of woody red husks and white flesh, of rojak and counterfeits.

I remember the beach-break and the break further out.

I remember how the sea burns like a winter lamp.

I remember gardenias, the porch heavy with scent, their furled petals, dark leaves.

I remember you and forget nearly everything else.

I remember the failure of recognition, its blue silence drowning us.

I remember your mouth.

I remember its heat, the sun burning away grief.

I remember these sentences, how they will stop, queer caskets split open and fled like shooting stars.

I remember and refuse to stop.

A Process Note:
After reading Eileen's poem several times, I began collecting two sets of items: words/images from her poem (island, mouth, hair, ashes, water, milk, sand, audacity, etc.) and memories which are situated in a context which draws upon one of those images. I used Eileen's form as template, not only anaphora and the separate sentence-like phrases, but her attention to shifting rhythms and line lengths, and her use of verbs. Taking the lines that came from my lists, I intervened in the easy fluidity of the memories in several ways: juxtaposing memories with the rupturing potential of and instability of feelings which may or may not be associated with the original memory; forcing two memories into proximity; unsettling the syntax, often depending on my ear, my sense of sound-play, as my guide. The final stage of writing was one of ordering and reordering, of finding the strange logic of the poem.

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