A. Van Jordan is the author of The Cineaste: Poems (W.W. Norton & Company, 2013).
(Park Chan-Wook, 2003)
If one rainy night you find yourself leaving a phone booth, and you meet a man with a lavender umbrella, resist your desire to follow him, to seek shelter from the night in his solace. Later, don't fall victim to the Hypnotist's narcotic of clarity, which proves a curare for the heart; her salve is merely a bandage, under which memories pulse. Resist the taste for something still alive for your first meal; resist the craving for the touch of a hand from your past. We live some memories, and some memories are planted. There's only so much space for the truth and the fabrications to spread out in one's mind. When there's no more space, we grow desperate. You'll ask if practicing love for years in your mind, prepares you for the moment, if practicing to defend one's life is the same as living? You'll hole up, captive, in a hotel room for fifteen years and learn to find a man within you, which will prove a painful introduction to the trance into which you were born. Better to stay under the spell of your guilt, than to forget; you've already released your pain onto the world; don't believe there's some joy in forgetting. There's no joy in the struggle to forget. And what appears as an endless verdant field, only spreads across a building's rooftop; your peaceful sleep could be a fetal position, which secures you in a suitcase in this field. A bell rings, and you fall out of this luggage like clothes you no longer fit. Now what to do? You remember when you were the man who fit those clothes, but you've forgotten this world. Even forgotten scenes from your life, leave shadows of the memory, haunting your spirit until, within a moment's glance, strangers passing you on the street, observe history in your eyes. Experience lingers through acts of forgetting, small acts of love or trauma falling from the same place. Whether memory comes in the form of a stone or a grain of sand, they both sink in water. A tongue—even if it were, say, sworn to secrecy; or if it were cut from one's mouth; yes, even without a mouth to envelop its truth—the tongue continues to confess.
Copyright © 2012 by A. Van Jordan. Used with permission of the author.