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Jeffrey B Stein

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Black Ship of Memories
by Jeffrey B Stein

Thursday, April 26, 2012
Rated "PG" by the Author.
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Recent poems by Jeffrey B Stein
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Where do I place your memory? I do not want to forget but I do not want to be enslaved by it as well.

How much more must I endure, oh God, the merciful
how much longer must I participate
in this daily macabre of a ritual
that compels me to worship the idol of an unfulfilled love?

How much longer, oh God, the compassionate
how much longer must I be entombed
in the chains of a pilgrimage that drags me to the water’s edge
to wait for the black ship that bears HER memory
to sail into the shallows of my every thought?

Free me, oh God, the very symbol of empathy
free me from this bondage
where I am forced to debate the normalcy of a ceremonial dialogue
that screams that SHE is dead
but I am alive –
alive and being punished
only because I survived
and she didn’t.

Free me, oh God who must hear my voice
free me from this cascade of feelings
that were first consummated that night
when I stood with her
two sentries on a barren hill
oblivious to the war raging beneath us.

Free me, God if you are indeed one of compassion
free me from the haunting memory of loving her
even before knowing her.
Free me from the image of seeing her
waving to me as I lifted my helicopter into the sky
to fight yet another battle.
Free me from the image of seeing her
waiting for me to quickly climb out of my cockpit
so that we could sneak off somewhere
and dance in the flames of exotic passion.

Free me, I beg, free me from this endless cycle of remembrance
that dominates all deliberation
and corrupts all free thought.
Free me from the pain
free me from the torment
free me from the agony and the torture
of having her memory dominate my every moment.

Free me, maker of magic and miracles
free me from the relentless pounding by the hammer of guilt and self-consumption
free me from the knowledge that I am alive and alone
and can’t seem to deal with the fact
that I can’t forget the moment when we stood in the shadow of malevolence
and bowed our heads in front of the liberated Wailing Wall
to pledge ourselves to each other in front of YOU.

Tell me, Being of all knowledge
is it ok to still love HER the way I do
to feel the way I do
to day after day make my pilgrimage to the altar of HER memory
as I prostrate myself in penance
because I did not protect HER as I promised I would?

Is it okay
to live and cherish the emotional residue
that I hold like a baby blanket?
It is okay
to dwell in the dialectic of what could have been
or worse yet
what should have been?

Why am I here
wanting to swim out to the ship of her memory
because I need a reality more dimensional
that just a few framed and fading pictures
that are sitting on my desk?

Damn it, God, tell me where to place her memory…
So as not to be forgotten
Yet not to dominate my every thought.
Tell me…God…tell me.

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