December 29, 2011

Mnemosyne Forgets

The long bowed wood left marks on the hardwood floor,
so we tried to keep the rocker on a rug.
It didn't work and every house would have these streaks
where our rocking had stripped wax off.

Memory is a hesitant thing,
a thing best left on shelves for rainy days.
What troubles me is remembering,
remembering August ninth-
nineteen ninety five.
A boundary day, a before and after day.

He wasn't just a guitar player missing the upper bird digits of his wing-ed finger.
He wasn't just a singer, who often strayed off key.
I struggle to write what he was, and still is,
 some 16 years later as I remember remembering.

That day was long neglected friendship calling just to see how I was holding up,
sorting through dated and venued bootlegs,
listening to over-mixed studio CDs,
holding my two black dogs and rocking and crying,
and rocking and crying.

Once a year we made a trip,
made arrangements for inside.
Locking knowing eyes with others
--he forgot a verse or teased the next song with a chord.
The whirling line of solo dancers in the breezeway
--patched long skirts drawing breath,
the lights synced with every song,
the grilled cheese, sugar cubes and cheap beers
 the after-concert parking lot.

Seeing the Dead live made me feel like I belonged,
like these freaks had some sort place for me.
When Jerry Garcia died in rehab,
I remember a part of me dying too.

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