Memory is Blood Soluble

I am still the old man with the street organ and cat, turning the same crank and expecting moonlight. What I remember: smoke of houses on the riverbank. Storm on mute. Temple broken, lamb-entered. You loved my bones because they were white. In the gathering blindness, you bandaged my body, and in doing so made it my body. I can’t remember which chord heals visions or causes them. Which summons a cloud of b­­­ees from the stone, or conceals your shape behind a flame. It is every guitar I have found in the gutter. Every name on the edge of being gone.


Copyright © 2021 by Brian Sneeden. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 14, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“The prose poem always represented a strange and unfamiliar world to me, until I translated one. This poem is from a sequence of original work that emerged in the margins of my translations of the prose poetry of the wonderful Phoebe Giannisi from the Modern Greek. Translation made the form legible to me, as a place in my writing for exploring the connections between lyric and myth: writing selves in the currency of archetypes. When a myth is believable, it is because on some intuitive level it makes sense, follows a logic that connects the experiential and imagined worlds. And because every poem is a ghost story, I find myself relying on a state of being haunted by these simultaneously tangible and intuited connections expressed in image.”
Brian Sneeden