(a personal contemplation on dementia)

my memories gather and squabble
like the crows at stirling castle
they pick the bones
of my recall

bones against the cruel clay
of an arid
barren mind

littered with the harsh forgotten
like the bones of the dinosaur
I'm becoming

with what letters are made of
my words crack and crumble

my thoughts
parch and wither

a sad silhouette
cut lonely
against an unforgiving skyline

fighting to remember
what the images meant

meant to me

tender visions of my past
of my life
of my home
next door to yesterday

harder and harder to remember
the degrees of separation
growing ever greater

time to time
I catch a glimpse of a lover
as she moves softly

comely as miss america
sensual as a shadowed nude

they all smolder in the fog
of my reflected past
in bright flashes

splashes of vivid color
on torn and dirty
scraps of paper
blown in the mounting winds
of my confusion

dread rising
that I will soon not remember
what it all meant to me

what they meant to me
what you meant to me
my love

a stirring fear I will forget
how a marriage
rare as ours
can last

how it did endure
and grow

finding richness
in moments of want
with the love we knew

this is not a poem
it is much more

this is a searching serenade
powerful as a double bass
sweet as a silver flute

this is a fractured tome
a cry of frustration
a tear of loss
a whispered prayer

an epitaph
to my fading map of then
of you

cherished memories

and gentle

that now falter
and dim

slowly slipping
into the cacophony
of the crows at stirling castle


rob kistner © 2018
I have been warned by my doctors in the past couple years, that I must be vigilant regarding dimentia. I have a number of things that make me a strong candidate. It frightens me when I struggle with memory, which I do more than I would like - and lately it feels more frequently. I had written about the subject in the past from an objective perspective, but I held it in a much more subjective light for this write.
I put myself in a meditative state before writing this, contemplating on what losing my memories might look and feel like. I then sat down and wrote this in a conceptual stream-of-consciousness, writing freely, not judging or overly evaluating what I was writing as I went - just writing, filled with the memories of the images that came to mind while I contemplated dimensia, and the emotions that lingered in that moment. I had a very strong vision of crows, what the significance is, I am not sure.
I did very minimal editing, then called it complete.
Here it is.
Morning comes and finds me hiding
Mercilessly optimistic fingers of light
Poke and prod my resistance to the day.
You’re so quiet
So long since the happy voice called me
Years ago, the singing in the kitchen,
The bright face saying get up, up, up!

I don’t want to open my eyes
See how it will be one day
All grown up now

If I could, I would buy you the world
Tear down the sun to warm you
Make a treasure book of all those plans.
We had so many
Ships of dreams to build and set sail
Now tomorrow is an anchor in my chest
Life is an unmade jigsaw, missing parts.

I don’t think you’ll be here
For your birthday telegram...
One hundred.
Please try, mama

Now I’m crying again and I can’t show you
Rivers of pain waiting to burst free
But this day is precious, you’re here
And you’re singing.
You still know me, my name, my face.
You’re still there inside that frail shell,
Today is a promise waiting to be kept.

Give me just another minute
There’s no need to hurry
Not now.
It’s gone too fast

Let me listen to your voice
Even though you stumble
Please, sing me one more lullaby.
For my mother, who has Alzheimer’s. I love her, she sings the best...and rudest, most hilariously twisted...lullabies. For you Mum xxx
king Jul 30
"Who are you?" you said,
Looking straight up at me.
Your face so emotionless,
Blank as an empty canvas.

The same person you called 'pretty,'
And expressed how I was 'just like my mum.'
The child you'd play with all day,
Don't you remember me even a tiny bit?

We would watch soccer together,
And sing along to your favourite songs.
You used to laugh at all my jokes,
Even if they weren't that funny.

We'd run around the house,
And sleep in our blanket forts.
Then you would hug me and cuddle me,
And tickle me until I felt sick.

Now you sit there in that wheelchair,
So lost and in despair.
Grandad, it's me,
Your only grandchild.
When the final pearl is lost—
and your neck stands bare
to the cast of your days’ last drop
of zeal—when the mind has no
means to wander upon the curves
of retrospect, to glance out
the rear-view window—when mirrors
only present you with a stranger, and
each moment of haze collapses into
the endless collection of empty recall
and hollow sounds—when no face
is familiar, and there is an endless
contortion of the mind, until you
accept that you don’t know who
the people are that feed you your
meals—when each breath is
carefully considered, and you can
feel yourself as stone—eroding
each day to the winds that pluck
you apart—chunk by chunk—
what are you then? Mere thinly
outstretched skin, pulled over
brittle bones that break away
upon every distant yearning
for rest in the willow’s arms?
This is a rough draft of a poem I'm working on for a collection of poetry that will be released as a chapbook at the end of this August. Because Alzheimer's runs in my family, I wanted to write a poem illustrating how it impacts the individual while also exploring the philosophical question of what we are without our memories. I intend to add more to the poem, so it would be nice to receive some feedback. Comment as you see fit.
Sam Kelly Jun 21
She used to call me by my sister's name,
I guess I can see how we look the same.
But now she looks at me with pain on her face
As she can't find a single name to place.
I'm almost afraid to see her again.
Forgetting me is no longer an "if" but a  "when".
I thought it would take longer but it's getting worse,
Mistaking her home for a hospital and me for a nurse.
I can see her eyes are full of fear.
She blinks. She's forgotten I'm here.
Tim Mahon Apr 27
Kids have nasty noses with
Dark green hosing out of them.
With no care and rapidly growing hair
They take their mom's hand and wipe their nose bare on her cardigan.

I've always wondered why we don't remember much of our early memories like where did they go?
Maybe these escaping visions used the snot trail as their undernose railroad.
But no mother in her right mind would try to siphon the mucus like fuel.
So the world may never know what lies inside that green drool.
As this child grows taller and learns to plug his nose with a soft lotioned tissue and not his new clothes,
He grows smarter and wiser and begins to compose, poems and prose that flow as the soul.
He writes about and to his grandpa,
Trying to unwrap the wisdom like a present of a thousand layers.
Using his thumb to uncover the thin papers.
Like talking to the curator of the museum of his mind, what was it like at war with the dictator of the time?
Spilling secrets and telling stories of his life when he was 9.

But the stories started to get blurry,
And his grandson started to worry,
He soon learned that his memory was not a guarantee.
His idol's nose had begun to run.
His mum wasn't there to refund the snot,
This is something that can't be undone or fought.

The rapid escape of dreams and thoughts,
as the last drop of snot falls off.
This was written shortly after my grandfather's death. I hope you all enjoy
Autumn Lewis Apr 20
Like the snowball first thrown in the bitter chilled winter days
Is the same as my grandma opening her eyes for the first time and in her mother's arms she lays.
Later as the years pass and love blossoms in her heart
My grandmother's life with her own family is about to start
Now she is like the first snowman built standing ready to guard her home
To stay there to protect and never to roam
But as time sweeps by so does her appearance she begins to melt
The meteorologist say it won't snow anytime soon and day by day she will alter  
They try to give her more pills to delay her death but they try to conceal it with their palter
Soon my snowman will just be another puddle licked up the earth
But I will always remember my snowman's worth
I love my grandma I just wish she didn't have to melt
Yellowed monochrome photographs
Like albums packed with epitaphs
Lie stacked one upon another
By the bedside of her grandmother

With weathered hands and weary eyes
She turns each page, and softly sighs
As fragile memories return
Her heart will ache, her eyes will burn.

For hours, she will reminisce
Though piecemeal, memories persist,
and she'll whisper a prayer, eyes wet,
"Jesus, please, don't let me forget."
Minstrel dumbstruck in the mizzle.
All romances yield their September.
Atavistically wistful,
the horizon ate my ancestors.

Seamonkey cities in astrobleme
lived the dream, but now magnolia
twilight of dementia picks us clean
w/ friselis of Auld Langoliers.

Killcrop in wellingtons of raven
shine puts the boot in piled margherita
playing card suits. This ruffian's
God; the leaves have human features.

Neither fall nor the Fall are antigrav.
Autumn flotsam 'n' jetsam flutter
like a showboating judge's gav-
el, yet condemning to a yardfire

all the braeburn-variegated Satans,
russet Lucifers w/ wings of nervures.
Deciduous devils, whose crackling perdition
foretells season of hell sowed for gardeners.

No modestly moulting future tense:
life is a winter of autumnal adolescence.
Abscissions are but the frondescence
of the laurels of autumn w/ a vengeance.
Jenay Jarvis Mar 30
You sleep now
Memories that make us remember-
Early mornings, the smell of school, your crisp clothes, the fall of your jewelry, the sound of your shoes.
It's immaculate.
I can see it.
(and) Seeing you weak makes me weak.
As if the loss of one is the loss of many
And it is.
A tribute to my grandmother who passed this morning.
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