Monday, September 29, 2014

Eileen Tabios

I Forgot How Beauty Dislocates

I forgot you dreaming I saw myself seeing myself. Objectively, I saw the flowers 
of my forgotten birthland: damas de noche, named after a long-haired woman 
afflicted into paleness by the verb of feel-ing.

I forgot you falling asleep in my skin to dream.

I forgot a 12th century Loire Valley chateau containing a mirror that had been left 
outdoors one winter to weather into “an appropriate cloudiness.” 

I forgot tea with a sculptor absentmindedly rearranging objects on a table to alter 
their relationships in and with space.

I forgot how Beauty dislocates.

I forgot the German landscape of Vilseck. I forgot the open tent with its huge 
farmers in huge overalls with huge accents, huge bellies, huge biceps and huge 
red cheeks. I forgot attempting but failing to finish one stein of beer (it was 
huge!). I forgot the entirety of that wet afternoon when I was assaulted by huge 
platters gleaming with huge, overstuffed sausages. For an entire afternoon, my 
eyes sought consolation in the orange-gold, foam-topped liquid in my glass, the 
same radioactive shade of lightning bolts I have forgotten witnessing over Kauai.

I forgot suckling wine from your lips, then biting, then swallowing earth, leather, 
currants, gravel, tobacco, oak and plums to release the same voluptuous tears 
familiar to Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning who loved through 573 letters 
before bearing a son they nicknamed with much affection, “Pen.”

I forgot the rest of Greece, its national heat waiting...

I forgot waking from a dream of white heat to see sun-washed walls forming a 
room where silk and lace sculpted a milk puddle on terra cotta floors. 

I forgot the definition of optimism: “when sky turns blue, it becomes as physical 
as an organ.”

I forgot a gilded door on Park Avenue you opened to a silver organza bag. 
Nestled in tulle netting were Lindor truffles in “all available flavors: milk, dark, 
white, amaretto, hazelnut, peanut butter and mint.”

I forgot a tapestry fabric called Marley from whose complex greenery small red 
blooms occasionally and always tastefully burst.

I forgot linens called Lamorna or Serge Antique that offered themselves not as 
black or white but as toast and oyster. 

I forgot England with its glazed chintzes bearing sprays of rose, peony, 
hydrangea and gladiola—names evoking country houses: Bowood, Amberley, 
Sissinghurst, Sutherland

I forgot the signs surrounding the man with curdling milk in his eyes—signs 
signifying nothing relevant to an embattled world or self: Macamundo, Push, 
Hoyo de Monterrey, Cohiba, Partagas, Excalibur, Davidoff, Zino.

I forgot an old man on the other side of glass rolling brown cigars on a wooden 
table. His eyes sunk from the same element that thinned his lips: a wish for more 

I forgot a fabric named Solace and its availability in celery, parchment, black 
pearl, crème brulee, persimmon and sage.

I forgot you startled the girl whose poetry elicits dragon scales from empathetic 

He was seated in a café, his table next to a haggard poet whose long-emptied 
cup refused succor as she kept writing a poem, writing a poem, writing a poem...

I forgot a man revealing a pristine white cuff as he raised his wrist to check a 
steel Movado watch.

I forgot you tasted her in every wine that dripped down your throat. I forgot Dr. 
Loosen ’99 Wehlener Sonnenhur Riesling Beerenauslese: “a bouquet of slate 
and roses, a molten flavor of starfruit, honey and pineapples.”

I forgot how pronouns confused me. I forgot the “She” evolving into an “I” then 
back again, flustered before your gaze.

I forgot the empty chair that awaited us, its expanse the totality of a planet still 

I forgot you saw each virgin moon as a ruby you wanted for adorning my body.

I forgot you also loved New York City for hosting those whose hair whitened 
prematurely in order to write books with titles encompassing Purity, Smoke, 
Thrall, Shield, Brush, Mote, Sheen—which is to say, The Encyclopedia of the 

I forgot you saw a bottle of Apollonio Riserva 1997, and recalled how the wine’s 
jammy presence puckered my lips to your huge but hidden delight. I floated in 
your orbit then, though I looked elsewhere, ignorant of gravity’s logic.

I forgot that when you turned a corner and felt the joy of Baudelaire’s “infinite 
expanse” at the sight of sky thinned by two parallel skyscrapers, you thought of 
me latching a star on a gold chain so that its shimmer would lower your gaze
towards my breasts.

I forgot we once stood unknowingly in the same room of this city of numerous 
rooms—did you frequent its space without knowing until now why you always 
looked intently at each face?

I forgot my own scent had threaded itself through the strands of your hair...

I forgot I lit alleys by leaving scarlet roses whose perfume, I hoped, you would 

Surely you walked through the spaces I hollowed from air and left behind in 
anticipation of you. 

I forgot you thought of me as you paced the streets of a city whose sidewalks 
memorized the music of my footsteps dancing away from youth into courage.

I forgot you wanted to see her seeing herself...


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