by yours truly
Memories are escape artists. They run free.
They are rampant until you look for one.
They play hide and seek. They are there until you walk through the door.
Then they vanish until you go back to where you started.
Hunting them is near impossible.
They get too far before we can form a search party.
You can wait in a tree all day, but you’ll rarely spot one.
You can train your rifle at one, take aim, fire,
And the bullet zings by hitting nothing.
You catch one and stuff it. Hire a taxadermist.
Hang it on the wall.
Friends come. You tell them about your prize shot.
The one that
didn’t get away.
“That’s a great catch,” they’ll say.
“Thanks for sharing,” they’ll whisper.
“I’m jealous,” they’ll think.
“Let me show you mine,” they’ll say.
And out from their pocket comes their memory machine.
With the ones they’ve shot and killed.
I wish, I wish, I wish, I would have stuffed more memories and built a mansion to house them. But then you would think me a murderer, or a hoarder or a selfish maniac.
Memories aren’t as bloody on the wall. The screams and the writhing pain aren’t as jostling in the frame or in the display case.
Memories are con artists.
They make you wish outcomes different.
Memories want to convince you that
… you should’ve married earlier, adopted dogs sooner, learned that art, that instrument, that habit without complaint or distraction.
You wish you would have picked your ass off the pew pain free, Scott free.
Olly olly oxen free.
You wish you would have read more books and poetry.
You wish you would have shot, killed and displayed more memories.
So many gone, buried, forgotten, lost.
“You better do a better job,” your mind whispers in your ear.
The air rushing past your ear, it tickles. It hurts a little.
You cry laugh. You pull you shoulder to your ear with your eyes shut.
“You should get a more powerful rifle to kill more memories. Carry it with you everywhere.”
It’s your right.
No, it’s your duty.
No, it’s your obligation.
Kill them dead and show off the bodies.
Friends are desperately want to see the carcasses.
Strangers are fascinated with blood, and how the living stopped breathing, and how powerful your rifle must be.
(reminder: poetry is meant to read aloud).