I am experiencing a mixed memory.
I wanted to write about some recent experiences and recalled a poem I loved in college which captured its essence. I thought it was The Emperor of Ice Cream by Wallace Stevens, but the line isn’t there. When I tried to search the line I was looking for I found a slightly different version of it, but it was a title, not a line. Also, it missed my favorite part.
If I consider this puzzle any longer, I am afraid I will furrow a wrinkle into my forehead. Although my brain may be getting older and fuzzier, I’d like to preserve the appearance of youth. This is the line as I remember it:
The thing itself, and not the idea of the thing. The, the.
I attribute it as the last line of a Wallace Steven’s poem. I can picture the words on the page and everything. If my book wasn’t inaccessible at the moment, I would read it cover to cover. I would pay special attention to the left pages, as that is where I see it, maybe midway through the book. Or maybe I am wrong. The lines may be mixed.
I used to have a fantastic memory. So good, in fact, that I proudly tacked it on as a part of my identity. I am not sure if it is motherhood or my third decade of life, but in the last few years I have shed memories like a molting snake. Some are gone forever. Some are murky, fuzzy ideas I have learned not to grasp. Rather, I must wait quietly without exerting any force of will and hope they rise to the surface.
It’s not just old memories, but recent ones too. Although I can recall instances of my children’s babyhoods, I can’t relive moments. This is part of the reason I was searching for the poem. Lately, it seems like I have more ideas of memories than actual memories themselves.
I voraciously read everything I can about neuro-development and new findings using brain scans. I want to know how my life-long pal, my brain, works. I fashion myself to be a test subject and replicate experiments regarding changing my thoughts and behaviors to change my brain. Much of it seems to be working. I feel like I am starting to control some patterns of thought.
Hmmm…. Yes, I see I’ve run awry. My thoughts are playing leapfrog, lovely reader, but if you’ve followed me this far, allow me one more fantastical jump. The tangent I’ve been running along has distracted me from my heart. Brains have a way of doing that sometimes.
It’s a quiet thought about the essence of being. The truth that exists, yet alludes definition.
This is what I care about.
I don’t want a busy brain. I don’t want a distracted life.
As much as I love yoga, Buddhism, Catholicism and the life works of many other respected, spiritual teachers, I don’t want to live a dogmatic life.
I want to sit and be quiet with the, the. I want to dance with the, the. I want to make passionate love to the, the. I want to left alone with the, the. I want to share the, the.
And this is where words fail. Even a lover of language like myself must admit its limitations. This is the reason for poetry: to use a few select words to say something wordless. This is the reason for every form of art: to speak an aphonic truth.
Some say om.
Some say amen.
Some poet said the, the.
I simply want to breathe and allow to fill my entire life.