Lines on Repressed Memory Syndrome.
A black hand crushed a teacup. That happened! OK, in a dream. "There's no truth about your childhood, but there's a story." I once helped a friend to ford the spooked horses in her head across the black river between her and dawn. She couldn't say what was wrong. A dark sock dimmed a load of whites. She wept above a cold cup of Oolong as if a tiny Ophelia floated there. Dr. Asa N. Masa (of the Yellow Pages Masas) had suggested her preschool teacher was a Chinese spy sent to sap the chi of America's youth by eviscerating hamsters at nap time. A big black hand crushed a white teacup. That happened! This time for real! In Brussels station, near the complicated lockers where we stowed our posters and snow globes. Conrad writes that tea was Kurtz's sole remaining mark of civilization, if I remember correctly. There's no truth about literature, but there's a story. How far the sloops or caravels or whatever they were had to sail to gather the stuff! Just so one ivory hunter could sit beside the river at midday and enjoy a proper cup while conducting elocution lessons for the pickaninnies. My friend set her pink toy table and forced her dolls to drink tea until they choked, or so Dr. Masa suggested. Was it any wonder we found the white marble of Brussels blackened by exhaust? There's no truth in museums, but there's a story, brute as a mastodon lurching from a tar pit, reversing the current of its extinction, impossible but actually happening, tusks carmine with EMERGENCY EXIT light. Most East India Company ships were built by black hands in India, and all of Europe contributed to the making of Mobutu, and the worse Dr. Masa made my friend feel (He told her she'd tried as a toddler to drown herself! I don't know how he knew that!) the better she slept. We wrote our locker combination on the flyleaf of a novel and thought we lost it in a chocolate shop.
JOEL BROUWER is the author of three books of poems, the most recent of which is And So (Four Way Books). He teaches at The University of Alabama.
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|Title Annotation:||Two poems|
|Publication:||The American Poetry Review|
|Date:||Sep 1, 2011|
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