Friday, March 21, 2008

Four themed poems by Karen Neuberg

Four poems
by Karen Neuberg
Theme: Memory


Someone recalls an evening. The science of memory dehydrates event, pulls it out of an older faith, shaped like a set of urns set upon horizon’s ledge. Someone might begin with imagination in an imaginary establishment and credential events with scientific precision. Stencil permutations to match light changing and capture all nuance that was the moment that was. Unlike science that has met certain criteria and can be trusted to validate on its own terms, memory is shifty, wily, often unauthorized to present itself as anything more than an old coat, out of fashion. It either keeps you warm, or not.


[Memory 2]

A poem about my memory will always begin another day being extracted & displayed with fullest intention of ownership again reclaiming time now. My memory always tells me take it easy, tells me it was thus, taking me in fully while I am not fooled and fall out. When I complain at such mistreatment, my memory steps back just far enough so it becomes a detailed still with inadequate distance so I cannot discern the precise manner of hands or what anyone thought exactly. My memory will always end as it began, in a temporary shade about to be cast under light coming from a cloud moving past sun.



Memory can declare you another person and you believe it for a visit’s span. Combinations of several summers provide gist and drift. Discordant winters vie for credulity but keep changing coats, giving themselves away. You might begin with yourself wearing a red parka and playing in heaps of snow and immediately transfer into the school yard where you’ve undone your overcoat’s top buttons despite the brisk wind. Here is where you don’t know something about to happen never does, at least not in memory. But, how you had wished for it at the time, held your breath. Anticipation making you someone else while it lasted.


Triptych of Memory with Corona


(Center Panel) - Fabric of Memory

a muslin - or better - burlap

swatch, partly unwove, partly frayed-edge, floating

…but not like an angel

(though in some lights, through some eyes… )

but more like something once attached,


and about to un-dissolve.

It has been in the rain.

It has been before the fire.

It is the symbol on your breast.

(Left Wing) - Fragment of Memory

solids - such as birch bark peeled and curled, or veins like those on the back
of your grandmother’s hands

or less tangible - stairs leading up or down, sun glinting off glass, toss
of a stranger’s head

and suddenly:

love fills your eyes

love empties your eyes

(Right Wing) - Flashback of Memory

Would we do it again?

Again and again?

And what about the ones not kept?

Or the ones kept that don’t rise

until unbidden, unrecalled, unexpected hands outstretch, palms up and open, offering

a time that is outside of time.

Can we have a taste?

Would we do it again?

Again and again?

How many times?


Memory and Dream

One is a corruption.

On your screen parts slide

over each other exchanging acts.

Certainly lovers.

Artist's note:

I am fascinated by the way memory works – it pulls you directly in and then tosses you back out at the moment you realize you are in it. It is fickle and often false, creating scenarios, combining events. In writing about memory, I am more interested in trying to capture how it works and affects me than in the memories themselves.

Author bio:

Karen Neuberg is a former information specialist, public librarian, marketing researcher, and social worker. Her work has appeared or is pending in literary journals and anthologies including Boston Literary Magazine, Poems Niederngasse, 42Opus, Right Hand Pointing, and Riverine, An Anthology of Hudson Valley Writers. She’s a Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee, holds an MFA from the New School, and lives in Brooklyn, NY and West Hurley, NY with her husband. They are about to become grandparents for the second time.

Editor's note:

Triptych of Memory with Corona (in four parts) was previously published in DIAGRAM 4.5.

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