Monday, April 27, 2009

More than memories

So what is a momento? Something you can hold onto, something to remember an event by or someone with. When you hold the item, close and dear to your heart, you can remember the joy you felt.

I found it interesting to invert the nature of the word, and describe something totally different; something not nice at all. Each of the items described in the poem is a memory, but it is more tangible than that, they are diary entries allowing anyone who reads to relive the time.

For those who lived through this, with this, it is something more. It is the scars left on your psyche. Scars that itch and burn and never heal. Scars that remain and remind you of the torment. These are the momentos that some offer to their children, that husbands offer to their wives, that wives offer to their husbands. These are the momentos that were offered to me for years at a time, and I work very hard to forget.


  1. Chris,
    Here's Joseph Brodsky's advice [excerpted from "Speech at the Stadium" in "Grief and Reason"]: "What your foes do derives its significance or consequence from the way you react. Therefore, rush through or past them as though they were yellow and not red lights. Don't linger on them mentally or verbally; don't pride yourself on forgiving or forgetting them -- worse come to worse, do the forgetting first. This way you'll spare your brain cells a lot of useless agitation; this way, perhaps, you may even save those pigheads from themselves, since the prospet of being forgotten is shorter than that of being forgiven. So flip the channel: you can't put this network out of circulation, but at least you can reduce its ratings."

  2. Hi Big Frank,

    Thanks for the excerpt, I really think that it rings true in most situations, but i think it's important to remember that the foes you ( and Brodsky) talk of sometimes gain a bit of power in situations by 'forgetting' the events themselves. In these cases it's important to say - you know what? you did this to me, and these are the consequences, I'm not taking it on board anymore, maybe you should deal with it for a while. There's power in that too.

    I like your comment, and find it interesting that there are so many different takes on similar situations. I feel that your comment complements one of my other posts where I discuss my friend Lorraine's positive interpretation of the poem. I look forward to more of your feedback.