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the pain buys less drink every day
only the high thin clouds of memory persist
blown like stirred like coffee dregs,
stirred like gnats by a summer wind
then the scent might recall
oh, o recognise this
this is an old acquaintance with
with whom i’d lost touch
but i remember her face
i remember the scent and line of her neck
i remember the smoke upon the air
the smoke upon my skin
the smoke about my eyes
the cauterizing, the shattered glass breathing
the every breath a bar-fight
the every breath a cat fight
did i not expect another
did i not wonder at another coming
then i would fear not the setting of the pain
i would not worry at its going away
i would not shake at its loss
— teach me to have fear in the appropriate places —
did i not wonder at another
i would not hoard every lobe of its memory
every infuse of its liquid
the seeds of knowledge like screws into bone
the mcguffey readers of pain
those readers of pain, the acolytes, the students
those who would fondle the scars to gird one’s loins
for them there is much to learn,
there are rivers without bottom
pain that leaves by the front door
to which one waves goodbye
like a friend of no phone calls
like a meal of flavor forgotten
such that one calls for it
one calls out for pain
one invokes the gods therein
for the re-granting of pain
one asks for a close friend
that friend that saves one the catch of breath
that says
“i know you, i see you, i am you, i will be not you, come to me”
that i might look in your face once again,
that i might smell your breath
that you might remind me of that  which i must know
that you might whisper in my ear, tell me you are no stranger
that we know each other
that there need be no fear only breath
within my breath your breath and only that breath
will stem the rising child of panic
will tap it on the top of its head
say
“it’s ok, stay right there
we have business to conduct
we have hymns to sing
we have coup to count
rosaries to pray
we have candles to light”
so now i know why arrives the pain
i know why the the visit
the knock on the door at the end of the day the knock on the head
come ringing round the rosie this friend with hands full of posie
this friend with flowers behind her back
she said,
“follow me i know a way
and i can take you there
i can walk you from this
i can walk you this tunnel
but what i teach you must hold
in trust,
in truth
for years decades generations and continents of time
you must hold it until you forget me
until you’ve never met me
until you’ve forgotten far mist far fog
dark skies long long long forgotten nights pure
through darkness
where
where you’ve forgotten me
where you’ve lost total sight of me
where when you do see me again,
you will think
“oh, i’ve seen her before
i dont know where i’ve seen her”
and you will travel last rites
of forgottens and nears
of sleepless and sleepful nights
the cramps from spine to tears
you will wander all those corrridors to remember me
— realize that i am your friend and i am not your enemy
i am the friend come to you dressed as the enemy
whom you recognise when false friends steal your clothes
and arrive at the party in  crimson and pearls
with
‘A-ha!’
will you say
“oh i remember you … showed me a painting one day”

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