Poem: Mnemosyne Forgets

Mar 5, 2014

The long bowed wood left marks on the hardwood floor,

so we tried to keep the rocker on a rug.

It didn't work and every house would have these streaks

where our rocking had stripped wax off.

Memory is a hesitant thing,

a thing best left on shelves for rainy days.

What troubles me is remembering,

remembering August ninth-

nineteen ninety five.

A boundary day, a before and after day.

He wasn't just a guitar player missing the upper bird digits of his wing-ed finger.

He wasn't just a singer, who often strayed off key.

I struggle to write what he was, and still is,

some 16 years later as I remember remembering.

That day was long neglected friendship calling just to see how I was holding up,

sorting through dated and venued bootlegs,

listening to over-mixed studio CDs,

holding my two black dogs and rocking and crying,

and rocking and crying.

Once a year we made a trip,

made arrangements for inside.

Locking knowing eyes with others

--he forgot a verse or teased the next song with a chord.

The whirling line of solo dancers in the breezeway

--patched long skirts drawing breath,

the lights synced with every song,

the grilled cheese, sugar cubes and cheap beers

the after-concert parking lot.

Seeing the Dead live made me feel like I belonged,

like these freaks had some sort place for me.

When Jerry Garcia died in rehab,

I remember a part of me dying too.

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Basic Human Needs Award winning poet, Don McIver is a four time member of the ABQ slam team, an award winning host/producer of KUNM’s Spoken Word Hour, the author of The Noisy Pen, and editor of A Bigger Boat: The Unlikely Success of the Albuquerque Poetry Slam Scene. He’s performed all over the United States including the 2011 and 2012 Solofest, 2012 TedxABQ, the Colorado Performance Poetry Festival, and the Tucson Poetry Festiva.  He's produced, curated, and hosted poetry events big and small including the Bravos Award Winning 2005 National Poetry Slam, and been published in numerous magazines and anthologies including Harwood Anthology, Shine On You Crazy Diamond: Poems by Teens and their Mentors, Earthships: A New Mecca Poetry Anthology, Poems from the Big Muddy: NPS 2004, Looking Back to Place, and How to....Multiple Perspectives on Creating a Garden, a Life, Relationships and Community and Fixed and Free Poetry Anthology..  He's a teacher by trade at Central New Mexico Community College, where he also manages the tutoring center.