Tag Archives: poem about memory

Risky Business

Risky Business

 How have you found your way into my dreams,
ripping my comfort apart at the seams?
I thought I’d escaped to back rooms of my self
but still I find thoughts of you stacked on a shelf
carefully obscured both in front and above
by other less perilous memories of love.

You walk nonchalantly into the room
that I have just cleared with a cloth and a broom
of other dangers and sadnesses not
knowing that once again, I will be caught.
Now I hide out behind walls at the back
where all of my worst fears reside in a stack.

Cowering here as you stride through the place
that your very presence has turned dark and base.
How could I have loved such a frightening soul,
the box of my heart turned into a bowl
with all of my secrets and weakness revealed—
things I now know that I should have kept sealed?

There you sit quietly, perched on a chair,
one hand on the desk top, one hand on your hair,
writing cruel words—I know about me.
I ease my way over, hoping to see,
but the paper is empty. Your ink has turned clear,
making improbable all that I fear.

As now I remember that I let you in,
forgetting all else in the charm of your grin.
The joy of your hand as it guided me sure
across the dance floor—all that allure
that kept me involved in the surface of you
overlooking the risks as most of us do.

If I’d had an x-ray taken of you
when our romance was shiny and new
I might have seen sooner your dangerous zone
and taken a detour and left you alone.
And perhaps now my dreams would be placid and calm
so I’d sleep without worry, sleep without qualm.

I might not have moved off to the edge of the world,
might still have been sleeping, never unfurled.
Perhaps it’s these dangers that make us let go
of all of the comforts of worlds that we know
and send us out elsewhere to discover a self
we’d have never found sitting safe on a shelf.


Written on the topic of risk for dVerse Poets.



We live in a modular world, things changing around us so fast that what we once thought we’d always remember can pass in a blur. We come together and we part, now close, now remote, castoff too fast to really memorize each other so that years later, we half-remember by a certain picture in the mind, a passing scent, a strain of music.  Something. There was something special. Half-grasped, caught like a foxtail in our mind.

Prompt words are castoff, together, modular, blur and remote. Image by Emmy M on Unsplash.

Act Three

Act Three

The echo of your footsteps as you trod across my mind
creates anticipation of a nostalgic kind.

You elevate my consciousness as you were wont to do

and so in time I manifest the whole grand rest of you.

You’ve been a silent tenant for so many years
that this surprise appearance prompts again those  tears

I thought had been dried up in me when you had to go
to that place where you were drawn by the undertow.

For only a brief moment, we are as we have been, 
’til with a click of memory, I banish you again.

You slip back into shadow in the attic of my mind,
where both of us lie tangled, hopelessly entwined.

I come back to the present while you’re banished to the past,
once again resuming the roles in which we’re cast.

You imprisoned in act two, caught eternally
while I assume a solo role, living out act three.

Prompt words today are elevate, echo, click, tenant and cross.

Memory Management: Prompt Poem, 4/10/2020

Memory Management

I’ve finally calculated the amount my head can hold—
sorted, classified and filed, folded, stacked or rolled.
It’s just enough to get me by and leave room there for me.
If you want to learn some more, you’ve got to leave space free.

Don’t jump to the conclusion I don’t prioritize.
One’s got to be selective in what they memorize.
Keep the best stuff handy in your mental cache.
Put some stuff on a higher shelf and throw away the trash.

Heads do not get bigger like hips and waists and ears,
so if you are forgetting things, let me calm your fears.
It’s nature’s way of making room for more important thought.
Emphasizing what we are, erasing what we’re not.

Prompts for today are finally, head, jump, cache and  amount.

Turn about Does Not Play Fair

Turn about Does Not Play Fair

If your social popularity has wandered off the track,
here’s a little good advice to help you get it back.
Practice your endurance. Listen when friends tell
all those oft-heard stories, even though you know them well.
But don’t expect the same from them when they show inattention
with each repeated story that you are going to mention.
Your stories retold more than once lack the fascination
of their latest version of their favorite rumination.

Prompt words today are go, social, track, endurance and listen.
This photo used for illustrative purposes only. In no way is this poem actually about these two lovely women.



Why do all our memories fade out to pastels?
The dulling of the colors, the muffling of the bells?
Often we discover that a happening once dated
becomes a strain of music half-remembered, mostly faded,
and we labor to remember a life so full and vast
that fades down to a shadow relegated to the past.
Better to infuse the present with such light
that all its various colors shine out vividly and bright.

Prompt words are pastel, musical, labor, discover and why.

Remembering Grandma at the Thirtieth School Reunion

Remembering Grandma at the Thirtieth School Reunion

When children guessed her age, I guess they might have guessed a million,
for her skin was fried and wrinkled and her manner most reptilian.

Her humor was peculiar—ribald, clever, sly.
Her whiskered chin was wobbly. She was rheumy in one eye.

When she talked about the old days and when people really listened,
her face seemed somehow younger and her eyes sparkled and glistened,

but she sputtered over S’s and dribbled when she talked.
She listed, lurched and wobbled. She zigzagged when she walked.
She loved her old blue tennis shoes with laces hanging down—
the only shoes she wore when she chose to go to town.
Still, her corns rubbed and her toes hurt. She preferred feet that were bare,
so she very rarely moved about once planted in her chair.

When her children brought her meals to her, they couldn’t linger long.
She couldn’t quite remember what it was that she’d done wrong.
Her grandkids liked her better and endured her bitter wit.
She taught them Chinese Checkers and some of them to knit,
but as they aged they visited less and less and less.
They didn’t like the odors. They didn’t like the mess.

And finally, as youngest, only I was able
to bear sitting with Grandma at her Chinese checkers table.
Only I could stand all the complaints and labored sighs—
all of the self-pity that shone out of her eyes.
But later, as a teen-ager, my visits, too, grew less.
Busy with my friends and school and other things, I guess.

And for all the years after she died, I thought about the years
when even I deserted her and I was brought to tears,
until my thirtieth class reunion, when a classmate I’d not seen
since we graduated, and for all the years between,
told a tale I’d never heard that made me realize
that there was more to life than what met my ears and eyes.

When television, new to town, kept Grandma company,
wild cats from her old henhouse came to sit upon her knee,
and the kids from the next corner also came to see,
for with ten kids in the family, they didn’t have TV.
It grew into a ritual. When they saw the sheen
emanating from the light of her TV screen,

they’d all drop in to see her and they’d stay until their pop
walked down from their house to bring their viewing to a stop.
Only the oldest daughter got to stay there until ten,
watching shows with Grandma—pretty ladies, handsome men,
cowboy shows and orchestras, adventure and romance.
They watched their favorite characters shoot and kiss and dance.

“We kids all called her Grandma,” my old classmate  confessed.
That she’d had this second family, our family hadn’t guessed.
So all those nights I thought that she’d been sitting all alone,
she’d been surrounded by her minions, like a queen upon her throne.
It seems the true facts of our past by memory can’t be gauged,
for sometimes history is rewritten and our consciences assuaged.

Prompt words today are reptilian, plant, ribald, peculiar and fried.

Final Jeopardy


Final Jeopardy

I don’t feel in jeopardy, don’t feel in danger.
I feel as protected as sheep at a manger.
I’ve deadlocks and bolt locks and high walls and bars,
passwords on my iBook, alarms on my cars.
With insurance policies paid for a year
on my car, house and health, there’s no reason to fear.

Jeopardy lately is something I’m lacking.
My virus protection secures me from hacking.
And as I get older, with more things to fear,
I’ll invest in a cane and Depends for my rear.
Now nearly everything has a solution.
It seems a development in evolution.

Our hides are less tough but our hearts just beat stronger
when we replace them so we can live longer.
We can buy a new hip or replace a bad knee.
There’s only one problem that I can foresee.
Memory replacement is what they should do
so we could remember where we’re walking to!

The prompt today was jeopardize.





When we were younger, we all were amused
as my mom steadily grew more confused––
losing her keys and her glasses and purse.
Each year of her life, it seemed to get worse.
At tax time she snorted, she fussed and she stewed
as her simple receipts she sorted and viewed.
One thing at a time was all she could do.
She grew somewhat flustered when confronted with two.
It was a puzzle for those forced to view it.
With much less to do, she took longer to do it.

But now as my seventies get so much nearer,
what my mother faced is getting much clearer.
Once a multi-task wizard, I find even two
tasks at one time are too much to do.
When on the computer I now have to think
to accomplish functions once done in a blink.
The names of close friends I now search my brain for.
What once came so easily, I must now strain for.
I still have my memory—try to believe it.
It just takes me longer to sort and retrieve it.

When it comes to time limits, I just confuse myself.
In games like Trivia, I must recuse myself.
The end of my stories I’m often delaying,
for I can’t recall what I started out saying.
When I finally remember why I came to town,
I’ve forgotten the list where I carefully wrote down
all of my errands and then what is worse,
when I get back home, they are there in my purse!
I’m glad I’ve no kids with whom I can share
or they’d already have me in memory care.




We store our truths in layers,
peeling back the amount we can stand to see.
Each year peels away some layers and builds others
until we grow in furrows and in hillocks.

Smooth truth is for the very young.
The old need their protections
as memory, like flesh and misfortune,
begins to bury itself to cluster underground

in cliques and hidden passageways,
lurking like guests in a British mystery play,
searching for us as we search for them in kind.
Old beaus, lost children and beachside vacations

sealed shoulder-to-shoulder in a too-small room––
a pantry, perhaps, or closet––
waiting waiting
to be peeled away.