Friday, August 20, 2010

Remember When ...

I'm in Santa Barbara at the writers' workshop ... without dog.  I now know that the near-bolt was about more than fear.  Here's the poem that showed up as I drove through town ... a place where I lived for 20 years with Richard.

Remember When ...

It looks like rush hour
as the line of cars inches south,
Santa Barbara foothills on the left,
the blue Pacific on the right.

It feels, as I creep toward the gathering
of writers, like swimming through
a limitless vat of memory soup, stocked
with too many onions.

It smells like each green street marker
is a packet of madeleines ripped open,
spraying poignant and sticky crumbs
of times past into the air.

It sounds like the crackle of ghosts
of the lost and the dead crying out
in hoarse, unused voices,
"Remember when we ...
Remember when ...
Remember me ... "

It tastes like an under-ripened fruit
promising bright, yellow sweetness
But delivering only the bitter, green bite
of memory repeating, repeating
"Remember when ... "


  1. Very nice, Joyceann. I like the repetition of this and the imagery of the madelines ripped open and spraying crumbs into the air, as well as the under-ripened fruit whose promise is not fulfilled.

    Have a wonderful time at the writers' workshop. Attending it is a great way to let your talents show.

  2. This is lovely Joyceann -- and powerful. Memory does that doesn't it? It creeps us as we crawl through traffic past places that remind us of when and where and who...

    It is good to let memory out in poem. It loses its grip on our creative force that way.

  3. There is a sappy country song called Remember When, but it is appropriate for this poem, and the mandolin intro playing in my head compliments the poem nicely...and Santa Barbara has it's own "smell" of Rosemary, Star Jasmine and salty's the smell of my childhood