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To my memories soaked in starlight,
I shield my eyes.
To my memories soaked in ocean foam,
My skin wrinkles within.
To my memories soaked with wind
I hear the sands of shifting dunes,
Haunting me, whispering the same question,
The same question each in their own way-
Do you know the way to who I was?
Do you? or you? or you there?
The memories hang on a clothesline,
Twisted and wrung-out, damp,
But never fully dry;
They are all I have to lead me here,
To this NOW of who I am.


This morning I awoke in a box of mirrors
(Or might have dreamed it, as they say)
And saw a familiar face and form, extending
Into in all directions, as I heard myself to say,
“Hey, pardon me, but have we met before?”
And then randomly a still frame appears
Some unknown concoction in the brain,
A sudden exhilaration, O loveliness
Of youth, I see it, reflected off the glass,
Yes, it was a night train, the red-eye express,
I was in that prime of life, a student,
- Hold that frame; hold that exact frame,
Hold on, hold, just a little longer..
My first voyage to the ancient world;
Perched between the cars as the sun rose
I saw a rouge upon my cheeks from the warmth
Flowing from the verdant valley,
Far from the passes through the Alps;
O soon to see the temples of history,
I am that face, that boy agazed,
The redness on my lips and cheeks.
Paris to Rome to Greece, I see it;
It is there I can start over again, relive again,
There. O Wait.
O dear. Gone. Gone for now.
Maybe gone forever...
The moment never stays for long,
But dives inward, inward,
To a fade out.

Alhors, where was I?


A memory washed with winter rain;
The chill of the icy lake.
A memory sprayed by a waterfall
From of a cliff of eclipsing rainbows;
A memory moist in the soft dew,
Knee-deep clouds in the woodland;
Strange, how these moments hide.
Submerged, to reappear like mirages,
Keeping their distance from the fear
That one day nothing could ever prove
For sure that I was ever there.


Ah, that was just me, as usual,
In the center of things,
Wedged inside a hall of mirrors
(Either awake or in a dream)
An infinite number of my selves,
Each a memory going inward,
inward to forgetfulness.
Each reflection reducing the past
To a slice thinner, geometrically,
My past selves, drenched in time,
And I alone to call them mine.


To my memories from misty starlight,
I see only their brightness.
Their reflections go in all directions,
Bathing in the Mira light.


Again, I think I have forgotten who I am.
And, who I was yesterday, and yesterday yesterday...

And then, a flash of NOW, I shield my eyes!
O get the fuck up old man! Wash your white hair,
Polish your teeth, pull yourself together!
Go to search in the mirrors of your mind,
Find that frame from the roller rink days,
As you go gliding around and around
To a boogie woogie beat of silly songs;
The mirrored balls are twirling crystalline
Silver tears on the polished floor before you;
Snort that popper and take off!

Last few words: 
1 In music, a fugue is a contrapuntal compositional technique in two or more voices, built on a subject (a musical theme) that is introduced at the beginning in imitation (repetition at different pitches) and which recurs frequently in the course of the composition/// 2.fugue a dreamlike state of altered consciousness that lasts for hours or days/// 3.fugue dissociative disorder in which a person forgets who they are; during the fugue there is no memory of the former life; after recovering there is no memory for events during the dissociative state/// Mira light- from the magical star// popper- Amyl Nitrite, a drug used by heart attack victim to increase heartbeats, used often in the Disco days (Studio 54 etc) to produce a minute of exhilaration, like laughing gas.
Editing stage: 


What a poem, that's a 'good' what a poem statement.
I'm sorry it's taken me a while to respond, but I keep going back and re reading and it takes a while!
I'm not going to crit, because I couldn't suggest a way to improve it. I think it's very clever.
To me, it's like a photograph album and you're using it to look back in life at who you were to who you are now. I love the way it's broken into musical pieces.
There will be some references that are over my head, but the fault there lies with me, not your poem.
I have really enjoyed reading it and will no doubt enjoy reading it again.

Remember we are a workshop site.
Don't forget to offer critique on poems you read.

and in what order?
I listen to a series of lectures by a gentleman named Greenberg from The Great Courses.
Good stuff. Over my head sometimes as they are truly University level lectures and I'm a simpleton of sorts. A high school drop out. Self taught in everything I know.
We have discussed the fugue on numerous occasions and my wife plays classical piano, so I was able to follow the "music".
Theme, development, recapitulation...
This could not have been broken up into multiple posts. It is all one piece.

The subject is relevant to me personally as I'm getting up there in age, so to speak. Quadruple bypass has caused me to look squarely at my mortality and miss my wasted youth. "Pictures in an Exhibition".

I still don't like the capitals for each line. It is trite.

Proofread. I know it is a long poem, but there are a few (very few) typographical errors. You're a smart one, so you'll find them. Also, I think there are too many unnecessary commas. This is nit picking, but they grab me by the.... well, you know what I mean. I strive for perfection however far from it I fall.

Now, to the poem itself.
The imagery is strong and (to put it in the simplest terms) gives it a sense of "poetry". It moves me.
You stay on target throughout. You do not stray or rather when you stray (musically speaking) you always return to the theme and then off again in a slightly different direction only to return again.
Difficult in a long piece. I know from what I speak having written my "epic". Sometimes it is hard to stay on message. There is a tendency to want to tangent. The poem is all of one piece.
I think I said that already.
One piece.
A smart piece and worthy of far more attention than it has received.

This is a tour de force that deserves to be returned to and "improved" with editing. We can always make something better, but not everything should be allowed to use our so limited time. This does. Look at this one again and again. Don't let it simply stand alone as finished. "A poem is never finished, only abandoned". This should not be abandoned. It is too special and warrants looking over multiple times. Change, revise, improve, edit. I have used the red pen on my epic so many times it is out of ink and still I look for another pen.

One last thing.
I have (as said) limited time. In my day, in my life. Many of the poems here are not worth that expenditure of time necessary to critique, though I will continue to devote that time as part of my responsibility to the site.
This was worthy of the expenditure.

W. H. Snow

A poet is a nightingale, who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds. Percy Bysshe Shelley

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yours is an enterprising, nay, monumental write that I won't even begin to critique--not because I'm musically ignorant (playing the classic violin and piano myself), but because there is simply more to comment on than my available time permits. This morning, I am on my way to MIM, the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix that's home to nearly 10,000 musical instruments from all over the world. Excellent work that I must read again..

Firstly I usually cut/paste may work into the site, and the preview shows it to me as entered it, with indentations, italics etc. Then when I press save, the format changes. I have tried unsuccessfully to edit. I just had to leave it as was, but the poem was broken in the original and might have helped the read a little bit. In the future I will try not to cut/paste, but type out in the site, might help.

I do understand Wesley's argument. I'm on the Caps team, the majority of poets's a link to a good argument of why to cap
Wesley, you have changed my view on punctuation, for which I am very grateful and always refer to your wisdom there. I now use it. For the time being, for the reasons in the link, I'm with the Caps.
I only noticed one typo, but will look for more.

In writing this poem about the elusive nature of memory I was trying originally to do it in various voices like a fugue. In the research I discovered that fugue is also a psychiatric state, like schizophrenia, as is in the notes. That changed the form of the poem.

About 30 hours went into this poem, with multiple revisions. After such an intense obsession, i will let it stand for a while (I hope!!) and come back to it when it's fresh.

I hope above all else I have written a piece which people can relate to regarding memories. They slip and slide in front of us, never staying long enough, and they are somehow the stuff we are made of. At the same time, we need to live in the moment, hence the last part.

This is the longest poem I've written in like 40 years. It takes more demands on the reader, and as a reader I often am leery of them. As we know, a poem so often starts as a sketch, and the finished work is nowhere what you were thinking it would be, you just had to let it happen. So thanks for reading.

One reference which might not be clear- Paul Gauguin in his journal Noa Noa- the people of Tahiti live so much in the present that they have no word for the past..there's yesterday, and yesterday yesterday. I'm not sure that works. in the poem to a reader...does it bother you?

again, much appreciation for your reading.

I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

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