Untitled (theories of memory)

[Memory is a crazy woman that hoards colored rags and throws away food. ~Austin O’Malley]

Memory, strange true helix of the self
holding back while flooding forth
giving birth to the unremembered
conspiring to bring warmth
heartbreak, guilt and pride

An imperfect storage device
that, in extremis, can be blanked
erased, overwritten, but for the most part
struggles on despite the damage its mainframe acquires

Memory is our conversational friend
the hall monitor of conscience
we have installed beside it
and the guidebook as to pain previously incurred
or inflicted. The fear of one
and the folly of the other

It enlarges as it decays
and in most retains its oldest files
while losing data from the documents of just yesterday.
It can be as selfish and partial as any of us
preferring faces or prejudiced against numbers.
It can hold poetry, beauty and love
alongside ugliness, death and hate
without, apparently, surrendering to madness.

We treasure it, curse it, change and deny it
conspire against it and call it wrong.
It exists, in most of us, without cure
tending or ministration.
It is all of us now gone.
A collection increasing as our days here diminish.




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