The Memory Station

May 27, 2010

posted by caroline picard

Something I’ve been working on lately….



Are of the same stuff

Because you are the mother of my mother because I am the child of your child

“That’s how I imagine it. I imagine there is a lot of sun and sand. And when it rains it rains sand and when you bite into a sandwich there is sand in the mustard and when you wake up in the morning there is a pile of sand in your bed. And the sand keeps everything warm so you never need blankets and sometimes, maybe, it makes one a little nostalgic, the sand. Is it true?”


The tombstone/it said QED

when I blew the seeds

“So the sun is not the same as sun by the sea, for instance. And the sand, it’s very very fine, and it fills the air, so it is mostly referred to as dust, and when you breathe it gets in your lungs, and when you walk it gets in your hair, and it covers your clothes and your shoes. And since it rarely rains, everything outside is covered in dust. Everything inside would be covered in dust had we not a lady who comes to clean once a week.”

My great grandfathers are my sandal straps, a membrane between my body and the earth

When I said

QED it was

as if I judged the life (the one passed, under the ground, the pile of bones from before great great grandmothers) to be fulfilled

“I know an artist and her specialty is painting on bits of sand. She uses a microscope and a very tiny brush. She makes her brushes by hand also–they’re so specific they can’t be bought. In order to make her brushes she travels once a year to a remote part of China where a peculiar breed of trout spawn. She catches a trout and takes a whisker–which is precisely why these trout are so unique, because they have mustaches, or actually they’re like cat fish whiskers, but I prefer to think of them as mustaches because I like thinking about fish with British Bobby facial hair–In any case, she spends any where from one week to one month collecting these trout whiskers and then when she comes she wraps a single one to a toothpick with a dollop of Elmer’s glue. She uses the contraption as a kind of brush with which to paint the sand. I’ve never seen her work in person–only pictures. She says every year, as a kind of meditative offering. She lets one of those single bits of sand go, lets it loose in the air, to be forgotten. She only makes five bits of sand a year, so they are absolutely precious. If I were her I wouldn’t give any of them away.”

There is sand

in concrete also

(in my) memory

Often all a year’s crop is consumedeven the seeds of next year’s planting.

“In the last year my laugh has changed. I think it’s because I didn’t laugh very much the four or five years before, so I got out of practice. It’s funny to think about laughter as an instrument to be practiced. When I was a teenager, for instance, I think I only ever laughed silently. My shoulders would shake and that’s how I knew I was laughing. It frustrated me to no end so I tried to make myself laugh with some sound but it was very difficult and never felt natural. For one thing I couldn’t find the right ‘sound’ to make when I laughed. In my 20s I forgot about it and I would hear myself laughing sometimes but because it hurt me, the sound, becuase it was such a sharp and barking sound. I think I was angry in my 20s though I don’t think I have a reason why. I just made a sound like a stepped-on dog, a yelping sound, which I didn’t like either. I tried to go back to being silent but I couldn’t even do that anymore–I became so self-conscious about laughing that I just never really laughed, except when I did, it was because I forgot myself and then I would make that high-pitched yelp. So I forgot about it again and then, somehow, lately, I think maybe because I’ve had more practice, I feel I’ve discovered the strengths of my particular voice, the way its best suited to laugh, and now it just happens all the time and now it just makes me want to laugh even more.”


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