Friday, 14 October 2016

plaint by Mark Young

One of the problems with short-term memory loss is that you forget that your short-term memory loss has made you forget that you went up to the local supermarket last Friday & discovered it full of elderly folk, many of whom were doing their obligatory filial duty & taking their even more elderly sole surviving parent—almost always female—for their weekly shopping trip. The aisles full of walking frames & skin complaints & canes & great-grandmas in trolleys, the checkouts clogged by the elderly whose short-term memory loss means they've forgotten how to swipe their cards & what numbers to key in.

& you've forgotten all that, & go up to the supermarket this Friday afternoon, & all the imprecations you'd forgotten you'd uttered last week come flooding back.

&, afterwards, you go & get petrol & have to wait for half an hour because the elderly have forgotten how to queue & park across the space between two bowsers so no one can get by them, & you, being courteous, see a clear space to park & slot into that, only to find that the elderly person two cars ahead of you who's just filled their car has forgotten where they've put their keys, & that the only station you can get on the car radio is one playing non-stop Phil Collins songs for half an hour....

& one of the things that short-term memory doesn't do is let you forget that you don't like Phil Collins. So, in penance for your intolerance, you force yourself to listen to him. & hope you forget who you're listening to.


Mark Young's most recent books are Mineral Terpsichore, from gradient books of Finland, & The Chorus of the Sphinxes, from Moria Books in Chicago.  An e-book, The Holy Sonnets unDonne, came out earlier this year from Red Ceilings Press; another, a few geographies, will be out later this year from One Sentence Poems; & another, For the Witches of Romania, is scheduled for publication by Beard of Bees.

1 comment:

  1. It is 5 a.m. in St. Louis as I read this and I am about to go grocery shopping in an environment described very well. I’m a few years younger and can remember what I have to do but observing my elders with very little in their carts reminds me of the poverty many of the elderly experience. The elderly are easy to ignore until you are on the brink of joining them. Then they truly stand out. In America they are often the forgotten poor.