Whirling Stillness

Where time clots, a stillness whirling
in the motion forward. Points
of condensed age in the meridians.
I look to see

a dissolving mirror
bones, skin, neurons

the self-image.
This is not a poem neat as intact
fishbones, mysterious as dinosaur
fossils. The poem writes through
me. Rises from ruminations, dried
flowers on my spine
bursting seeds.

Are memories nomads wandering
our minds? Seeds of recollections
reflecting whole scenes from our past,
or partial images in the distorted ways we
compose and re-compose our lives?

Is memory how we narrate the stories
of our lives? Where we describe
our experiences to ourselves...

Do some experiences burrow like
bulbs in the network of capillaries,
memories memorizing themselves,
knots in the ganglia?

Replays of moments we've lived
that change as the story changes.

We are forever changing our stories,
aren't we.

Is that the river? Our blood
of experience?

Our collections of images,
re-iterating ourselves,
recalled, recollected, replayed.
Memories are slowed time,
knots in the Chi of
our neurocircuitry.

In the forever now, memories
where time recoils and coils slow eddying
resisting the rush.

Who I am is my memory of myself.

I remember you remembering yourself in me.

Wandering Nomads Bone Image, 2011, 19cm x 16.5cm, 7.5"x6.5", mostly archival inks, sepia, black, red, orange, and oil pastels, Moleskine sketchbook. Fishbones, dinosaur bones, ivory piano keys of the mind playing its strange music, I don't know. When I sat to draw an image for this poem, a vertebrae emerged. Click for actual size.


Big Tent's poetry prompt this week was to use the "stories or ideas" of science "as a metaphor for something in your own life or a made-up life. The odd mix of fact and fiction is poetry in the making." I've kind of combined a physics of time - suggesting that, like time slows down in black holes, perhaps it also does in the creation and maintenance of longterm memory in the onrush of the present - with a neuroscience of non-localized (nomadic) cerebral processes where memories might be compared to pockets of stillness in the constant flow of cerebro-spinal fluid, the sparking of chemical pulses. And then I did a drawing where a vertebrae emerged. It was all as strange as any Science Fiction. Ultimately, my piece becomes a philosophical poem about the nature of memory, of subjectivity, of the self. For other responses, see here.

(Picasa's a bit strange these days. Below a thumbnail for 
services like Facebook to read feed readers)

(Readings of the poem didn't, um, didn't, and need more tries, but the afterward, which is more like a pre-amble, was kind of fun.)

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