Memory  

'Memory' is an original poem created with lines cut and collaged from other poems that were found in the collection

The Terrible Stories by Lucille Clifton (©1996).

 

It is only titled Memory because I felt I should (re)use one of the titles from the collection for consistency's sake. But in my heart and mind the real title of this piece is "The Great Circulation."

The lines of the poem are affixed to a picture of the Earth (The North Sea) taken from outer space (via Challenger 9, 61A in 1985). This image is from the stupendously beautiful book "The Home Planet" by Kevin Kelly (used in a lot of my artwork.) 

TRANSCRIPTION:

Memory

i can scarcely remember

gushing down through my mother

onto the family bed

water earth fire air

all of them carrying yesterday

all of them dragging forward tomorrow. 

water

moving and moaning

i can feel it dancing in me, 

dancing on the ground

in tears and out of the mist a hand

becomes flesh and i watch

as its pointing fingers spell

why

oh the crack in my heart

filling and emptying

so many questions

all at once

and oh the astonishment

is always flowing. every water

is the same water coming round.

all night i hear the whispering 

of our own breathing

through centuries of water

swallowed by the sky.

and i can hear hushed voices

dancing the syllables

brushing against the shadows,

still plentiful as stars. 

will i float or drown

is what i ask myself

surrending

for love

for love 

it is the great circulation

whispering mistakenly:

only here. only now.

September 2017

St. Louis, USA

Up to 65% of the human adult body is water.