Wednesday, October 7, 2015

October 7: John F. Kennedy, Peanut Butter and Banana, Eric Torgersen, "Snow. Memory," Adventures of Stickman

Remembered how Robert, coming home in tears after John F. Kennedy was assassinated, had asked him, "Did God will that?"

After Robert is murdered, Ives spends a good portion of his life remembering.  It's his way of coping with the loss of his son.  Unfortunately, Ives gets stuck in his memories.  Every time something changes, Ives loses Robert all over again.  The Biltmore Hotel closes, Ives mourns.  Gimbels closes, he mourns.  Ives retires.  Mourning.  It's about letting go, and Ives can't seem to loosen his grip on the past.

I'm sitting in my university office at the at the moment, eating a peanut butter and banana sandwich.  It's a good sandwich,  It was one of my favorite sandwiches as a kid.  I used to beg my mother to make them for me.  It was a treat.  I don't know why.  Maybe bananas were too expensive.  Or peanut butter.  Whatever the reason, a peanut butter and banana sandwich was the prime rib of my childhood cuisine.

That's a good memory.  Each bite I take of my sandwich tonight is a little stroll through the playgrounds and elementary school hallways of my mind.  It's amazing how something as simple as two pieces of white bread, a couple tablespoons of peanut butter, and a banana can unlock such elemental recollections.  If I had a cold glass of milk mixed with Nestle Quik to go with my sandwich, I would probably never want to leave my office again.

Of course, I will finish my dinner.  I will suck the last smudges of peanut butter from my fingers.  Then I will go to the water fountain and drink.  This moment will pass.  Like snow or a super moon.  Moments are not meant to last.  They just slide into short term memory and, eventually, get filed away in long term.

Tomorrow, I will probably forget this meal.  How it made me feel like I was eight or nine again.  I will take up the mantle of adulthood.  Drive to work.  Punch a time clock.  Earn money.  Worry about bills.

Tonight, however, Saint Marty has a peanut butter and banana sandwich.  And that's enough.

Memory.  Snow.

by:  Eric Torgersen

Snow returns and snow
is memory,
imperfect as memory of dreams
but our only memory of wind,
of feet that circle the house
at night as we sleep.

You were still asleep
when the first of the first snow
fell, renewing the memory
of winter; I forgot my dreams
and ran in the snow, right out in the wind,
not afraid of leaving the house.

That night, in the house
again, refusing to sleep,
I mocked the snow
and vaunted my own poor memory.
"The one who never dreams
of wind

will die in wind,"
you said.  "His house
will be no refuge, nor will sleep;
snow on snow
will erase his memory
and even the landscape of dreams

will no longer hold his dreams;
we know that when wind dies wind
will rise again, but no house,
fallen, rises.  Sleep
if you can but the snow
will return when we are just memory."

"Let the sum of all memory
equal the sum of all dream,"
I said.  "All the world's wind
weighs less than the poorest house.
Dream-winds trouble every hour's sleep,
but snow is only snow is only snow."

Even in tropics we keep the memory of snow;
in dreams, night after night, we're torn from sleep
as our separate houses yield to the single wind.

Adventures of STICKMAN

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