Deja Vu

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We glimpse some common object
or catch a stray scent,
and we are hurled back,
arriving in our past
the same instant we are retrieved,
as if the mind,
noting the discrepancy,
corrects itself.

Memories are not snapshots
waiting for us in the brain’s dark folds.
We live them again,
one neuron sparking another
and another, the original band
reunited, setting a flimsy stage
on which we reappear.

This happens so fast
that sometimes we don’t know
where we went.
All we are given is the receipt:
a teasing brush of joy
we try to keep
and lose at once.

 

 

Photo by JR Korpa on Unsplash

Inner Critics

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It was the 70s.
No one had cell phones,
and cameras were for
travel, holidays,
bigger things.
“Selfie” wasn’t even a word.

So when you came across
that ancient photo
tucked in a book,
your stomach jumped.

There you were,
sitting on your dorm bed
hunched over a small typewriter,
looking up, surprised.
Younger, prettier—
that’s to be expected.
It’s the details that fascinate.
The blue eye shadow—too blue,
and eyeliner—too much.
You’re wearing jeans and one of those silly
peasant blouses—all the rage for half a minute.
Long straight hair parted down the middle,
same as the rest of the herd.
A poster on the wall of naked lovers,
red satin sheets. Good god.
A really ugly desk lamp.

STOP!
You can do that now,
tell your censor
to shut up,
leave this innocent alone.

She dogged you then too,
that old nag;
nothing you did
pleased her.
She was with you
from the start,
braiding you with doubt,
cloaking you with dread.
Not anymore.

Age has carried off
what you no longer need,
left you something
to fight with instead.

Now you have your critic
pinned against the ropes.
Let her rail all she wants,
you don’t need to listen,
you slow walking,
white-haired champion.