Saturday, March 3, 2012

the past changes every day

the past changes every day

though i read first five don juan books by carlos castenda, i could never agree with the indian sage on this point: erase your personal memory. i can't remember his reasoning and only the opposite has worked for me. most often i float in the amniotic fluid, not know whence i've come or where headed. the events of the world cover my tracks. someone sleeping under a bench in the public park always reminds me of myself. 

did proust give his rational for writing a remembrance of things past? alas, i only read the first book and that was so long ago... if i may venture, perhaps he hoped recover himself, ie. become a solid body in the physical world. whenever i stumble on a kernel of my past, or listen to the four and a half hours of my mother describing my childhood before she forgot who i was, i feel immensely better. old letters, diaries, i've tried to lay cement in my footsteps. someday, maybe, when my  mind slips into oblivion, i might...

the schoolhouse above a case in point. i remembered it pretty well, though i hadn't seen a picture of it in sixty years,  it stood right across the street from the church and parsonage.  on a second grade spelling test  i couldn't  spellof and pooped in my pants. right after class i waddled home and my mother threw me into the bathtub.  she and i once walked past the brick edifice on a schoolday as i had a doctor's appointment. firemen were up on the roof, breaking through the shingles to reach a smoke, an early premonition of my career. 

hmm, yes, the second grade momentous. finger-painting, loved it and have only recently taken it up again. i remember looking up at a train made of punch holes, exhibited in the county fair, red on green and mine. true, i didn't stand out, five waynes and dewaynes in the class. saying the pledge of allegiance, i think i objected to it even then. and when the teacher played a record of japanese singing, i rankled at the other kids' shameless laughter. 

fox and geese in the snow, wet fur and wool, my smells less elegant than proust's, appropriately so, considering i rose from middle-class riff-raff. and i may not need the pill recently advertised in wired magazine which can target specific memories and erase them, expunging their pain. if i gave all those up, i'd lose my common inheritance of humanity. sometimes friends say they're worried for me, i express myself so bleakly. i tell them, better memory aches than no feeling at all. let's face it, if you don't wake up after sixty miserable, you're dead! 

the androids seeking enlightenment agree with me: