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Posts Tagged ‘Dale Favier’

Memory

May 15, 2007 2 comments

From mole, March 14, 2006

Yesterday my high school roommate said he had seen me slap my girlfriend, once. I believe him, but I don’t remember it, and there was a cold constriction behind my breastbone all day. This is well over thirty years ago; any connection I have to that overwrought teenager is tenuous, but it distressed me, and it still distresses me.

That I’d done it – if I could remember it – would be forgiveable. I was fifteen and terribly unstable. But that I could do it and forget it, that’s what frightened me. What else have I forgotten? Just how much editing has gone into making this persona?

I had to ask Martha, last night. “Have I ever hit you?”

Her blank perplexity was reassuring. I told her why I was asking. “No, you’ve never hit me,” she said.

So that was a relief, anyway.

I still don’t remember it. But a couple hours after he had said that, a picture formed in my mind: a dark hallway, and she standing a couple yards away, on her high-colored face an expression of mixed anger and triumph. The expression said, “I knew that was what you really were.” There’s no movement to this picture. Nothing leads up to it or away from it.

My memory works like that. Disconnected pictures, charged with emotion. There are no stories in my memory, no narratives. I’m always astonished by people with narrative memories. Martha has the whole history of our lives in stories. Start her anywhere, with any memory, and she catches the thread of the story, and soon the narrative unfolds, complete with characters and motives. She even remembers other peoples’ stories.

But my memory is little vivid pictures framed by a huge darkness. I remember things I’ve seen and things I’ve felt. There’s M, having just stepped back from me, the stairs tumbling away to my right, an unlighted doorway behind her; and the picture is suffused with dread. But that’s all there is.

by Dale Favier

Categories: Greatest Blog Hits Tags:

Fragment

August 31, 2006 4 comments

And the hunger of loving is so acute that it becomes larger and more real than hunger. It turns itself inside out, and — flayed and tender side outermost — it whispers: I am not hunger. I am something deeper. I am what reality is made of.

by Dale Favier of mole

Categories: Short Shorts Tags:

Before the Season

April 6, 2006 11 comments

This body, uneasy in its bones, crouched down
Into a branchery of ribs that leans
Into the fat of a round belly, the spine
curved down, like a burdened sapling,
And the shoulders cradling a wary skull —

This body is closed. Here is the gate of light
Here is the gate of sound here is the gate of cinnamon;
Here is the gate of seed and here is the gate of wind,
All closed. Under a microscope, the whole field
Of skin, thick-sown with hair, is a Hill
Of doored hobbit-holes, and they too

Are closed. If you drive up to Maine
Before the season, you will see McDonalds
And Burger Kings boarded up, and old ice
Drawing gray patterns on the parking lots.

Like that.

Now light from the unseen sea, and
An unheard murmur of surf, and
An untasted salt of spray, and
An absent mouth between my thighs, and
An unloosened clutch of entrails.

Like that, too.

I remember faintly kisses and sunlight,
From another year, long ago.

Now, under the surface,
The tiderace and the cold surge
Drag against the jetties’ roots,

Unheard.

by Dale Favier of Mole

Home

December 18, 2005 14 comments

One winter day in my childhood, I was walking on the shoulder of a road. Fields of weeds stretched away on my right, and to my left was a tangle of Douglas firs. I can’t locate the place in time or space, but I know it was a cold still day, a “white day,” as I have always called them in my private language, when a featureless Oregon overcast erases all shadow without providing any compensatory brightness. Everything close was unnaturally distinct, though drained of color, and everything far away was dim and faded. Wherever I was, I was miles from home.

And I was toying with the word “home,” saying it over and over. An uneasiness had come over me, because the word had come free of the language, like a tooth coming loose. It no longer made sense to me. I pronounced it – the aspiration, and then the buzz of the vocal cords, damped by the closing lips into a hum. How could this sound mean anything? And why?

I walked on, over the old oil-stained pavement, under that formless white canopy. I spelled the word in my mind’s eye. It made no sense that way either. The “o” actually started inside the “h” and lingered into the “m,” while the “e” hovered uselessly at the end. Why? Why did we write the sounds down like that? And why did we use those particular sounds to mean that particular thing?

It had begun, maybe, as an exercise in de-familiarizing the familiar, a constant pastime in my childhood. I loved to lie on my back and imagine that up was down – to think how the ceiling’s plaster would crunch under my feet, and how the doors would all stand a couple feet off the ground, so you’d have to step over the low walls of the lintels to go through them, and the windows would be set low down on the walls, while their curtains would flop uselessly, because they were attached at the bottom. In my imagination I would wander all through the upside-down house: I could turn on the faucets, which all pointed upwards now, to make fountains of them; I could hoist myself up onto the shelf formed by the underside of the dining-room table. It was great fun, but of course the best fun was abruptly rolling over and having the whole thing reverse and snap back into place, right side up. A moment of dizziness, and then I was back in the usual world.

But now it was as though down had stayed up. “Home” stayed meaningless. Was it really even a word? I began to panic. All the other words began to come loose too. I mouthed the improbable sounds of my name. What tied them to me? Nothing that I could see.

I stopped on the road, and slowly turned in place. What made it a road? Only the fact that I was traveling on it. If I walked a couple steps to the centerline and sat down on the asphalt, it would no longer be a road. It would be a long, flat-topped gray ridge, extending straight to the left and the right. No road at all.

I became frightened. If it was no longer a road, then what was to keep me from sitting down in the middle of it? I might be run over by a car. Or I might already, for that matter, have forgotten something. Standing still by the side of the road – wasn’t that odd? People didn’t do that, did they? And now I didn’t know why not. And I didn’t even know, now, if I still spoke their language. Would anyone be able to understand me, or was I utterly alone, now and forever?

It takes longer to describe the experience than it did to have it. I resumed my walk. The road became a road again. Words anchored themselves in the English language again.

All except one. That one. “Home,” ever since, has been loose in its socket. An undependable word. Or maybe – as I have more recently come to think of it – a little opening, a window, through which a wider, richer, more dangerous world can be glimpsed.

Someday, maybe, I am going home. So drive carefully.

Written by Dale Favier of
Mole.

Categories: Finding Home Tags:

Two Finger Poems

October 5, 2005 9 comments

Each finger-bone pulled from the next
Splitting, hissing, in the loosening flame
Slowly unmaking the hands that have served so long,
Clutched so hard.

Each brittle word wrenched from the text
Crumbling, blurring, undoing each name
Slowly unwriting the poems that have masked the song,
Closed my heart.

Written by Dale Favier, of Mole.