Pit Stop

tandoori chicken and cardamom tea,
and the familiar throb of a solitary road,
as the disquiet of constrained limbs
echoes the grumble of dusty long haul trucks;
and the universe unscrambles on a cosmic blackboard,
in the algebra of physical laws
and an organic instinct for survival,
chalk dust rising like a smokescreen
through crisscrossing high beams,
all its equations resolved for tonight,
except this conundrum of memory-
this thing that I live with
and that you erased;
tell me, when does forgetting begin?

the years still pulse,
strapped to my chest like a volatile vest,
weighing me down,
a grounded see-saw
looking skyward for its offset;
do those days wash off like beach sand
or fade into a colourless haze
one ordered check box at a time,
I try to rip them off like soiled plaster,
losing a little of myself each time;
like a spring meadow at the edge of remembrance,
or a daily prayer getting quieter with each telling,
tell me how does forgetting begin?

until here in this highway dhaba,
bones still wet on our plates,
it feels like we sit together,
without each other,
all the words we ever spoke,
drowned in rheumy lorry snores,
tea, gone cold, wrinkling its brown forehead
at our perplexing game of chess,
my pawns backing off slowly along the dark squares,
while yours advance on patches of light;
why go forward,
why leave you behind,
tell me, if you remember, why does forgetting begin

For Poets United where the midweek prompt is ‘organic’.
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30 thoughts on “Pit Stop

  1. Such a question – forgetting begins all the time maybe – in every pit stop and every meal consumed..what a wonderful serving of imagery – the universe unscrambles on a cosmic blackboard – my favourite – even organics are sometimes hard to fathom

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  2. I think creation is continuous because of memory and forgetting, I think it is contingent on the points of association (couldn’t help reading the comments above) that sometimes make us laugh and sometimes cry. From them we build a stairway out of despair that others can use too. Oh how I adore this poem–the road, the pit stop and need to continually digest this world and it turnings. Here is my favorite bit–after everything else and the repetition which in itself is the process you describe!–:
    “. . . try to rip them off like soiled plaster,
    losing a little of myself each time;
    like a spring meadow at the edge of remembrance,
    or a daily prayer getting quieter with each telling,”

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  3. I love the last line. It sums up for me the human response to pain. We try to forget, yet for healing to happen we really must confront it, see it, then hopefully, let it go.

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  4. A lovely bit of poetic cuisine you have served up here, Rajani! I like your return to the question of forgetting, and it actually made me wonder about the other side of that coin– the remembering, and the memory-making. How our memories shift as we return to them over and over– the ones that haunt us in particular– becoming images with a strange emphasis… Distortions. We end up faced with this need to forget what never truly was… It is an enigma, this experience of being human, of being blessed with this faculty of memory… I think you’re right, though, ripping them off like plaster– those ones we’ve toyed with and cultivated for so long– it is literally a losing of oneself in some ways. It is not easy to do!

    Peace
    Michael

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    1. Thank you Michael. You’ve nailed it.. we are stuck with these distorted memories that start defining our reality, a convoluted spiral of half-truths that become increasingly difficult to untangle. And yet, we must find our way out into some perceived sunshine.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This one is hitting me hard. This maybe an odd comparion, but the aspects you laid out feel off the same senitment and even the scene one would encounter in a truck stop cafe in the US. Ruminate, forget, or even lose feeling over comfort foods.

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  6. I quite forget when forgetting began but may I say what a nuisance it is to find myself speechless. With regard to the daily prayer I would have thought it would have become more insistent rather than backing off!

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  7. “I try to rip them off like soiled plaster,
    losing a little of myself each time;
    like a spring meadow at the edge of remembrance,
    or a daily prayer getting quieter with each telling,
    tell me how does forgetting begin?”– In reality, memory is very prone to fallacy. People can feel completely confident that their memory is accurate, but this confidence is no guarantee that a particular memory is correct…
    “like a spring meadow at the edge of remembrance,…” I love this line, thotpurge! What a magnificent poet you are… :))))

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  8. A philosophical poem here. I never thought before about when forgetting begins. (Unless I have, but have forgotten about it. Smiles) On a serious note, probably if one was able to determine when forgetting began one could market it to the medical profession & perhaps find a cure to Alzheimers.

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