My sister’s phonograph lies in the corner,
Untouched. Unused, worthless, beyond repair,
Yet she will not part with it. If I could, to break
my sister’s heart, I would move the ‘graph.
Needless and worthless clutter, a life unknown.
How the suffocation becomes worthless if glance at it too long.
The phonograph does not play,
It will never play,
But the memories, they’re fresher.
I am ultimate, a memory within her own,
If I was to wreck the ‘graph,
I’d pass right through.
So let’s be rid of the memories first,
A harsh tie from the real world,
To keep the escapism real,
To keep the escapism breathing,
To silence the outside. Only living
on the inside – yet, without the memory
of her anchoring phonograph,
Who will she be?
To erase, to love, to even kill, I’d be rid of all memory.
Silence myself in the deep fug of thought,
But with no memories to penetrate my world.
We will be rid of memories first.
Grasping hold, taking the corner of a
blank white page, to turn it,
I grasp the phonograph’s edges.
This is the first place to begin, as this memory
means nothing to me.
I raise myself, and sounds fall,
Out of the broken phonograph snout,
To make noise on the brick floor.
Are these part of the memory? To pick up and erase,
A dark part of myself. It means nothing.
I raise my sister’s phonograph,
Up high, as if I will put it away,
Lay it on a shelf for the memory to fade,
But I carry it through. My mind –
Loosened by the choice –
Feels lighter every step.
My sister’s phonograph no longer will keep
her own spirit tied. I have freed her into life.
Disposing of the long-ago object,
The feeling of a previous existence,
Plays harsh upon my hands.
The phonograph is getting heavier.
How? – the sound fell from its base,
The sound was never heavy. Yet
each step sharpens my memory,
To the point of hurting me. But
I must grip the phonograph tighter. The loss
of a life for the thrill of a memory,
The dull watercolour sweep or thought,
It lasts for a few seconds. There’s not
a world in her head. There’s not a world
in mine. There is only a huge gap,
Where our lives stopped.
The phonograph is weighing me down,
Each pace a dark gasp,
An expulsion of putrid memory from my
own selfish head. Mercy.
Deflate and dispose, phonograph, I am the reality.
A small piece, a slick oil-paint at best,
Instead of this airy watercolour,
That your memory provides. Shift the weight.
One hand, pressed upon, the other, pain,
Twinned with my sharpening memory.
Twisted agony again. But – I could stop,
I could stop walking,
Give into the memories of my sister,
Give into the memories of me,
And stop walking –
But to stop, to give up my life,
I will not waste my sister’s life. I will
free her. Piece by piece, pull this reality
apart and free her. And I will follow,
The walls gone, the freedom unchained,
But it has to start somewhere.
I pick up the phonograph again.