Poem: Unremembered memories

Music vibrates my eardrums and I see my reflection on this screen as I type. My face that I can read so well, my necklaces with their stories and piercings and earrings, the eyelashes I inherited from my father and the shape of my mother’s face, my freckles and hair that so many suns have shone on, my lips that have kissed and been kissed.

The green/blue/grey eyes that have misted over and burned with unshed tears, eyes that have seen below the surface and that in their corners now see couples talking and kissing.

My neck that has had peaceful faces rest in its hollows, my collarbones that lovers traced with their fingers, my shoulders that have been tense and massaged and sunburnt, my hands that held my little brother’s newborn face, dug into the sand, gave pleasure, wrote and drew and played instruments, my hands that he held as he slept, my hands that will one day hold my own child.

In my body I contain a lifetime of memories, remembered and unremembered.

It remembers the feeling of others, the sensations of sunshine and the ocean, the way India’s streets smelled or the feeling of a temple’s cold marble floors on my soles, it remembers the sting of a bluebottle and the wrenching feeling of a heart breaking in half, the hum of a tattoo and an inhale of smoke, the coldness of shock, the painful warm expanding of the heart when it encompasses the complex nameless emotions that come with the feeling of true love, my body remembers it all.

All the bodies surrounding me are also collections of emotions and sensations and memories, love and knowledge and longing. The universe inside their skin is as central to their existence as mine is to me.

Yet no summer’s day can draw comparison, and no poem will render their memory-bank bodies eternal. They too will fade with the seasons until that lifetime of experiences will be no more important to the world than a dead leaf is to a tree. Once the culmination of everything, now nothing more than an unremembered memory.


On love, half-awake

It is in the haze of half-awakeness that I understand my feelings best, when my brain isn’t fast enough to destroy meaning in an attempt to understand. So now I write, still slow from an afternoon nap that extended into night skies and confusion. Do you ever find that in your dreams you discover the one great love of your life? The one they write novels, poems, plays about, the one they paint, sing, scream about, immortalising every action and making it a gesture, celebrating the discord of emotions and worshiping a caress, a look? I awoke with nostalgia for my one great love, but my awake brain has already dismantled this idea with the starkness of facts.

Today I swam in the ocean. The sky was effortlessly clear, the sun warm like summer. I drove toward the beach through silhouetted gum trees making zebra lines across the road. The water was colder than I expected, although it was that irresistible turquoise that promises it will make you feel better. I waded in to my hips, then before I could hesitate any longer, dove under the surface. The muffled sunlit silence of the underwater world. My body stung alive by the cold. Above the surface, the chaos of breaking waves and surfers and children on the sand. Below again, this time used to the cold. Gliding through the water like an axelottle. The buoyant silence.

The thing is, I have lots of great little loves. I fall in love with someone for the night or the hours we spend together. I allow my body to be theirs and in return their body is mine, an extension of me. We are one being, not separate, fused by our pleasure. Even my longer loves, years of togetherness, came and went like waves on the sand.

But a lifetime of little loves doesn’t accumulate to the big, great love. Does it?

In my dream, or perhaps it was a memory, I spooned him from behind as we both fell into exhausted but happy sleep. I drifted away into the turquoise.