Index of memory, the sun through its moments…self-taught image

space the minute-hand blocks / sun
                                    through window or door
                                           upon the street
index  of  memory.

i called her once.  embarrassed heartbeat / static
                                         fabric  of the pause
brittle leaves in  the  corner  smell of urine
                                 pain as dampness through the
                                    tinder the wind gathered
                                           amidst those trees

 her answers were the grass scars of summer.

above the  sea /  the atmosphere’s quarry of
                  mutes the suburb
we grew  as  the  avenue / the scrape of leaves
                                  subdued beneath rain
                                    sun private in the
                                        passage of work
                                     – a walk through its limpid
                                                edge at dusk –
                                  moon abrupt invented frames
                                          – dream or bedroom sill –
                   laundered our sorrow on the road.
every street drove me through myself / i said ‘you
                                       are its eternal aim’
as shallowing waves web minute flotsam
                                               through the shell / i
                                     willed myself into that grit
                                                  of silence.
sun on the street  gravity of the clock falls
                  as hard / as unclear a touch above
                                                            the surface.

my blindness crumbles at the rain / gust  sheaved  upon
                                                                 g u s t .
 the swift skin of cloud on the asphalt obscures
                      your imagined grief / severs it
                                  its marrow a street faded from
                                                        the sun.

ancient minute. sun’s bitterness on stone / rare alcohol
                                            of jasmine a
                                                sleeve’s enshadowed

 as your drive toward mountains /
                                                light as the camber’s
                                                desert blade of water

                                                                                                to A.G., K. J.
                                                                                                & J.R.

                                                                                                april 1982

Copyright ©1986 Peter Le Baige.  All Rights Reserved.  Reproduced from my own publication ‘street hung with daylit moon’, Chamaeleon Press

The music is from a recording by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra of Aaron Copland’s ‘Quiet City’ 

3 thoughts on “memory”

  1. Many thanks, Dean. I have wondered for years if there was an exact meaning to the image, and can only reach the conclusion that the image was inexactly about inexactness; that is, the clock hand raised above the surface of the clock can never show the time exactly because we could see it from different angles. In the same way a shadow falling on the street is perhaps never ‘exactly’ on it because it falls on a surface that is irregular. Perhaps I meant this (still not sure). Hence, the ‘index of memory’ thumbed to often is no longer ‘exact’. Thanks for prompting me to wonder about it again.


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