68 Years Apart. -
The New York Times
Then, Now and Beyond
in lees than 68 Seconds:
S*x, Sustinance ... Shelter
Explain this to me, would you, dear? –
how you, who breathe the atmosphere
I breathe, and witness day and night
and up and down and left and right
with sight presumably not unlike what
my eyes take in, experience a glut
of swarming, loud, sensate hyperbole
where only silent absence seems to me
to be, and otherwise imply the “real”
is so inordinate you can’t begin to feel
the groaning board of it. I’m in the dusk
in emptiness while you’re the brusque
besieged eternal target of internal war.
Is it simply I see less, and you see more?
Who is yes and who is no? I am my scars.
You’re furiously overcome by stars.
“I come to these poems in part because I’m trying to find myself.”
the missing accumulate
dust at first, then disappear,
taking their voices, even
their names with them.
Empty pedestals, empty frames
at every turn. You trace
the letters inscribed
on polished brass nameplates,
their meaning no more
clear than primitive markings
of an ancient tribe.
Moving from room to room
you search for recognition,
the sudden recollection
of a beloved face—
the aunt whose kindness
you promised never
to forget, the sister
who died young, the man
you once believed
would stay with you forever.
*Zeina Hashem Beck, “In the museum of memory, the missing
accumulate.” From “Ghazal: With Prayer” (Poetry, March 2019)
Not only has this poet smartly chosen a wonderful first line to build from; the extended metaphor is well-sustained through the entirety of “Natural History.” We move room to room, item to item, line to line gladly with the poet as we are shown an array of vivid images and emotions. There’s a sadness in all this loss, but through the poet, the sadness takes on a lustrous beauty. --Melissa Studdard
MEdia Dragons are building museum of memory ... how good is storytelling in Sydney and Beyond ...