(©Jo Chavez 2007)


     Long ago, when the great skies reeled and reeked black, and the mildly unfortunate  dappled bullfrogs inhabited the soft, green corners of prayer~

     Long ago, when freckled dreams and jeweled beliefs cut the same path, and the wind’s martyred cry was caressingly and sadly familiar~ 

     Long ago, when devils bled hot and brilliantly-mazed whetting stones which dripped from gnarled groins a bluish poison that healed~

     Long ago, when the ground, when the earth, when the truths and the lies of God formed a deep-dished cacophony of bless-ed virtues~

     Long ago, when long ago felt new and shiny and glittered fresh and smart like a sequined or asute shawl wrapped loosely around the bony shoulders of forever~

     Long ago………… Memory was birthed.

     Birthed from the patches of countless, nameless gray-stoned markers that led to an honest thought; gray stone markersthat led to an unbreakable value; that led, winding its way up the great granite stairwell to the planted and formidable feet of the Buddha God and under the many-colored — saffron-yellow, sacrificial-red, incessant-blue—skirts of Kali mischief; that led its way along a path strewn with aching goathead stings and mumbly, disproportionate truths.

     Memory birthed from slick, velvety creamed yogurt-lies that slid, with no form, down the throats of deceptive and unimaginative lawbreakers.  A strong and kind Memory that could stand hand to hand battle and would not crumble under the value-voids of the rule- makers.  Memory that radiated honor without reservation and was quick and sly to catch and to snatch at truth-slayers carrying wormwood paradox. 

     Honorable without remorse and stalwart in station, Memory fortuitously and harmoniously remained upright as a virgin standing under a full- mooned, open-harvested whey field, posed and poised as a virgin may be — hands spread and fingers splayed as firefly wings sprinkled their secrets upon pink-tipped flower petal palms.

guanyin     A smell of long ago jasmine and minted cloud-breath wafted about virgin combed hair and pulled out bits and pieces of scented Memory which were caught in never-tangled, always forgiving, curls.  Sweet-dipped phrases escaped the monotony of forever and rolled across thigh-high, soothing and dreamy blades of grass-field.

     Memory gathered up her colored skirts and her ancient friends for a revival and demanded that chairs be set up to accommodate passersby or wandering homeless suggestions looking for a hearth.  Memory lavishly spread a banquet table:  brine for the liars, pig’s eye for the judgmental, hummingbird tongue for the frightened and meek, cream and chocolate puffs for the bewildered, stew pies for the unencumbered, strong ox tail brew for the willful, and cotton-candied and rainbowed delights for the mothers of unborn joy.

     Long before long ago, when Memory was birthed,

           when the knees of the devil worshippers took their bruised selves 
                 to God for a 

     Long before the mother tongue knew “I, We, and Thou”~

     Long before the saints were entombed beneath huge, weighted stone blocks~

     Long before the Black became the White and the Ocean the Sky~

     Long before mouths were filled with impudent whisperings,

           before brash disrespect for God was commonplace~

     Long before a care would sit, grow, fester, and become a
          grotesque, gruesome,
gangrenous wound~

Before martyrs found themselves attached to the hearts of the Penitentes
with the strength of religious superglue~

     Before static and dead were wonders~

     Before the marvelous bowels of the Black Madonna would graciously erupt
          and  flow blue-veined forgiveness into the hearts of the People~


     Long ago and before………….was Memory. 

© 2007, Roy Tennant,


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