Tag Archives: Memory

Palingenesis

 

Stepping off the curb to cross the street, his foot lands on a piece of cardboard, and it slips under his feet. Everything goes off-center. He is falling backwards.

He slips into a familiar, momentary lapse of time. Weightless. Maybe like being in the womb. Maybe like death. 

He remembers, in that one second, being someone else, a tiny child, whom his parents would toss in the air, eliciting delighted giggles. He feels again what it was to be a grinning kid who went sledding, who rode amusement park rides, who loved the loose sensation of roller skates under his feet, the dizzying slide of tennis shoes on a frozen pond, closing his eyes and jumping off the swing at its apogee, leaping from the monkey bars. As he got older, he needed to make bigger jumps: from the second story window of his bedroom, the stomach-dropping fall from the front car of a roller coaster, perilous speeding car rides down mountain back roads.

He used to seek that. The sensation of being stunned. The joy of getting turned up-side-down. Thrilling in the unexpected. Always finding a bigger risk. 

Gravity returns with a vengeance. It knocks him flat, kicks the breath out of him. 

He can’t breathe. There is something wrong with his tailbone. His toes tingle. This is the kind of fall that will leave traces for the rest of his life. Drawing lines of pain through his bones, down his nerves, trailing in his new limp, slowing him down. His routine will change. His shoes will change. The content of his conversation will change.

A college kid hunkers down beside him, concerned. “Are you OK?” She says. 

He sees himself reflected in her eyes, distinguished gentleman with graying temples, ass over teakettle in the gutter, and finds his breath, taking in a great gasp of air.

He can’t answer her for his own wheezing laugh. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Journal – Measuring Time

 

Notre Dame burned today.
I wasn’t as upset as I should have been.
Because history rises and falls
We make things, they fall apart
Nobody died
Paris stands
People will continue to create
Marvels
Which in time will crumble too
Everything crumbles
Nothing can stand against
The inexorable pressure of time.
Eons weigh heavy
Days weigh light
We continue to try to measure ourselves
And time
Using our brief little memories
Using our collective tools
Our hearts hands minds
Our clocks, calendars, history books
Our archeology, geology, cosmology
We measure and measure and measure
With little yardsticks laid out
Against the workings of the whole universe
Much too big for us
Like ants
We work together
We stand on the shoulders of our ancestors
We actually think
We’re going somewhere
With our tiny rulers
Our pyramids
Our steps on the moon
Our internet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

A Question on “Fading”

I wrote Fading because I’ve been thinking about this lately:

If we lose our memories, do we also lose our coping mechanisms?

If I lost my memories, would I revert to self-harm? Would I forget to lean on the Tao, and struggle against what everyone needs of me? Would I go back to being a supercilious intellectual? Will I go back to repressing? To unfeeling depressive episodes? To crushing self-loathing?

Will all these decades of personal growth be reversed in the final years of my life?

Maybe my story is too cynical. Maybe even when the memories are lost, the habits which are strongly engrained remain. Maybe a coping mechanism is more of a habit than a memory.

What do you guys think?