Leonard kept his memory in a box behind the sofa-
metal clasps held in each thought
each verse...
Tape recorder in hand
he would walk to his mother's home
an alarm on his watch to tell him when to eat.

Leonard met a girl named Silva on the way to Liverpool
who had a sweet smile and dark hair
she smiled at him when he asked her to speak her name into the microphone and
she held his hand for a long time
until he got off the train.
He forgot her name by the time he reached the sidewalk
he didn't see her wave from the window...
couldn't figure out why his hand felt so warm.

At four-thirty he received a call from the dentist
as usual he'd missed his appointment
and forgot to call.
Leonard returned home three days later
a pack of biscuits in his nap-sack and a letter from his Da'.
He read back to the time in his youth
when he longed to be something he was not-

he just wished he could remember
long enough to be it.

At night he would dream of his college years at Cambridge
and whisper sweet thoughts in the recorder by his bed
there wasn't any room in the dreams for the future
they would leave him the moment he'd wake up.

But the chill in the air and the taste of the cold beef on his tongue
set him up in the night to record... and he listened rapt as the he learned all about
his weekend from the tapes. The things he had seen, the names he'd learned
- all forgotten... someone else's life.

The pages shuffled silently into his box behind the couch
A lifetime of words all forgotten.
In a few days he would read a volume or two and imagine that he could
remember them all in a breath. He prayed that he'd never forget where they were...he feared he would

He wished he knew how to draw.

Unpacking the boxes and boxes of papers and books I have been lugging from apartment to apartment over the past few years, it occurs to me to actually see what it is I am schlepping around, and whether the memories are worth their weight.

Here is a sheaf of papers, three inches thick, three, I don’t even remember this part of when I met a man twice my age. I don’t recall, not at all printing out all our correspondence. The back and forth, give and take, the flirting and bantering, shameful, and all here on paper. Chucked.

Here is a folder, Garfield tm in a blue funk. High school, if memory serves me correctly. Yes, here are all my creative writing essays, A’s and B’s and the two C’s I laughed at. And some sorry-assed rhyming poem wannabe’s from 8th grade. Ha! Kept.

And here, from when I thought I could draw…that stupid cartoonish dog, laughing, drooling, moping, loping. And those damned rocks at the top of the driveway – pages upon pages, (attempt after attempt) of poorly shaded, barely recognizable inanimate objects. Chucked.

And my programming notes, scribbles really, referencing beginner books I’ve long lost, and homemade Boggle boards. Lab assignments, graded, torn, stained. Lab assigments unfinished with jottings of thought along the edges, zany arrows and flowcharts I can no longer decode. Chucked.

Here, this makes me laugh until there are tears to my eyes, my fascinatingly detailed teen angst log. God, I was a sad, sad child. And yet, still, there is some sort of lyricism I detect in middle of all the poor me and Fuck them and blahblahblahblah. Kept.

It's been time for a while, time to prune down my life and the detritus I carry around, time to weed out the things that are no longer relevant, time to toss the things that are merely shreds of the past that I cling to for no other reason but they are the only tangible reminder I have. Some of these things had to go. Some, I fear, I will dig out of the trash later on. So it goes...if I can't toss it easily without regret, I'll just drag it around for another year until I can.

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