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A Bed above the Abyss: Amnesiac Notebook

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i. Awake
 
Each entry consisting of the statements
I am awake or I am conscious
entered every few minutes:
 
      2:10 p.m.: this time properly awake.
      2:14 p.m.: this time finally awake.
      2:35 p.m.: this time completely awake.
 
     At 9:40 p.m. I awoke for the first time, despite my previous claims.
 
This in turn was crossed out, followed by:
 
     I was fully conscious at 10:35 p.m., and awake for the first time
                 in many, many weeks.
 
This in turn was cancelled out by the next entry.
 
 
ii. Passport
 
How large it grew, that first kiss, until I could board it each night,
a raft drifting out into the quiet lake. After twenty years
the great amnesiac HM never recognized
his doctor, and after lunch
gladly ate another: Time for lunch, they would tell him again.
You must be starving.
 
God, I am starving.
Without a body, collection cannot precede
recollection: recollect a tongue, that skilled swirl
of its quick tip, a mouthful of familiars: smoke,
strawberry candy. Memory in the web
between dumbstruck and dura: dump and dune,
duplicates. What kind of game is this?
 
I’m no longer a boy,
HM would say to his reflection, the surprise on his face
genuine. What kind of game is this?
The mirror a passport like any other, its picture
out of time, a foreign shock of untamed hair
even the photographer declared beautiful then.
 
Then: the word smiles
like a stranger on your first day at school,
sitting on stone steps, worn with use.
 
 
iii. Taxonomy
 
Red but not bird comes to mind.”
                 Only the kingdom of living names
 
was missing there—bank, flagstone, sofa
                 remained, but not the blur at the feeder,
 
the undersea creature on the card—
                  it’s a danger, a killer swimmer,
 
they coaxed him—it’s called a
                  (waiting for the word to stir from its depth;
 
how could he forget the ones who dressed,
                  fed, taught him word by word
 
the order of the world? What noise does
                  that loss make?) (They looked suspiciously
 
like his parents, he thought: strangers posing
                  unanswerable questions)—
 
“It has no name, it has no need.”

Andrew Allport, “A Bed above the Abyss: Amnesiac Notebook” from The Body of Space in the Shape of the Human. Copyright © 2012 by Andrew Allport. Reprinted by permission of New Issues Press.
Source: The Body of Space in the Shape of the Human (New Issues Press, 2012)
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A Bed above the Abyss: Amnesiac Notebook

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