Remind Me

by Sven Davisson

Visiting Allen Ginsberg’s Beat snapshots
at the National Gallery of Art
an unanticipated sadness
black crows circle out of mind
grainy blackandwhite ghosts
of my own childhood
the skeleton of time
reminds me
hours spent discussing
Shelley’s ‘Ode to the Westwind’
as breath machine
Ozymandias and impermanence

Remind me
when we meet again

and now years later
here we are
fading snapshots
behind glass
the mundane and casual
archived and labeled
national memory
occluding personal ones
Remind me
how handsome Peter was
dead now just three months
as I move through the galleries
images set out in chronological order
I note how many lives are end dated
take note of the rare few that are not
reflecting on life impermanent as the
chemicals that form the emulsions
fading minutely before me

Remind me
the second day of Ango
an image of Gary Snyder
catches my eye
and makes me smile
young thin unexpectedly handsome
Unsui’s koromo with rakusu
standing in his garden
Kyoto, July 1963

Remind me
the grey in your beard
as you lit a cigarette
beneath a NO SMOKING sign
answering a student question
quoting Trungpa
on enlightenment
the step that isn’t there
my own mental snapshots
turning to grey
and beginning to fade
Remind me
your words
written on the back
of a postcard
an arial view of Nashville
postmark new york
the same hand beneath
each of these images

the next morning
sitting in meditation
thoughts fighting back
pulling me toward poetry
rebelling with a cascade of words
that have not come in months

Remind me
when next we meet
whether it be in Maine
at Naropa
or somewhere on the moon