To write often means remembering what never existed. So how can I know what has never existed? Like this: as if I were remembering. By an effort of memory, as if I had never been born. I was never born. I have never lived. But I remember, and remembering is like an open wound.
I can’t trust the accuracy of my own memories,
many of them having blended with sentimental
telephone and margarine commercials
plainly ruined by Madison Avenue.
– David Berman, “Self Portrait at 28”
When everything else has gone from my brain—the President’s name, the state capitals, the neighborhoods where I lived, and then my own name and what it was on earth I sought, and then at length the faces of my friends, and finally the faces of my family—when all has dissolved, what will be left, I believe, is topology: the dreaming memory of land as it lay this way and that.
– Annie Dillard, from An American Childhood
Henry’s been dead a long time in that ghost
Wood, planted somewhere ‘tween truth
And fiction, taking and taken advantage of,
Like mice at dusk on a cool summer evening,
Maybe in Patagonia, never lying or lied to,
Especially after a fresh haircut, listen,
He went West still longing for Slavic heat,
Knowing we’re nowhere near there, we’re still
East, seeing it all as terrifying but hilarious.
One day, quite some time ago, I happened on a photograph of Napoleon’s younger brother, Jerome, taken in 1852. And I realized then, with an amazement I have not been able to lessen since: “I am looking at eyes that looked at the Emperor.” Sometimes I would mention this amazement, but since no one seemed to share it, not even to understand it (life consists of these little touches of solitude), I forgot about it.
– Barthes, Camera Lucida
Somewhere in the future I am remembering today. I’ll bet you
I’m remembering how I walked into the park at five thirty,
my favorite time of day, and how I found two cold pitchers
of just poured beer, sitting there on the bench.
I am remembering how my friend Chip showed up
with a catcher’s mask hanging from his belt and how I said
great to see you, sit down, have a beer, how are you,
and how he turned to me with the sunset reflecting off his contacts
and said, wonderful, how are you.
– David Berman, from “The Charm of 5:30” (Actual Air)
Any TV anchor who interviews Trump needs to print this out and commit it to memory.
TV in loving memory: Rasheed Hassan Khan devoted life to rights of peasants.
Water has memory. Ganga is carrying impressions, feelings, memories . . . She is a living entity. Rivers have rights.
One of the most brutal knockouts in recent memory. Let’s have no more of these daft catchweight fights!
Make me an option, and I’ll make you a memory.
New 5.5 Comfort 3” Twin Memory Foam Mattress Topper.
Time to sleep . . . (cue marching band, mother’s disapproving voice, and the memory of women who never wanted you).
Looks like the house of memory here.
Funny how the hours stretch, melt away my empathy. Persistence of a memory.
That’s just how I was brought up. Your girl should never touch a door or walk in a room behind you. It’s muscle memory now.
In loving memory of Johnny Depp. He ain’t dead, I just love remembering him.
Study without desire spoils the memory, and it retains nothing that it takes in.
Good luck getting the memory of people laughing at you dislodged from your brain.
There is never a single approach to something remembered. The remembered is not like a terminus at the end of a line. Numerous approaches or stimuli converge upon it and lead to it. Words, comparisons, signs need to create a context for a printed photograph in a comparable way: that is to say, they must mark and leave open diverse approaches. A radial system has to be constructed around the photograph so that it may be seen in terms which are simultaneously personal, political, economic, dramatic, everyday, and historic.
– John Berger, from “Uses of Photographs”
- Oslo, 1971
- Kraków, 2005
- Rotterdam, 2016