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poetry


THE WHITE STRIPES, ELEPHANT
by
Micah Ling

Memory is fiction. Keith Richards said that. But of course, he wasnít the first. Itís true. In fact, Google it and youíll find all kinds of scientific articles and medical blogs to back it up. Like the time a lover asked me to fly to Hawaii, and I went, and the only way I remember it is because of Elephant, which I played on repeat. But thatís not true. I didnít go to Hawaii. Iíve regretted it more days than not. I did listen to Elephant, though. It was the only album I owned for a while: living out of my car and always managing to be clean and smelling lovely. I lost a decent amount of weight sleeping sweaty nights in the back seat: the thick Midwest wall of humidity. And every afternoon driving that Chevy around, painting houses and swimming in rivers, running quarries and showering at the college. No one knew, and I loved it that way. That thumping beat: I was proving myself to myself. I even had a dog: Harley Davidson, and he would look at me like the only living thing who still believed: always thinking, ďYouíve got this.Ē And I did have this, as long as he never smelled my fear, I had this.



THAT MEMORY THING
THAT HAPPENS WHEN
YOU UNEXPECTEDLY
HEAR A SONG, LIKE, SAY,
MARVIN GAYEíS
ďGOT TO GIVE IT UPĒ
by
Micah Ling

Tooling around, bumming, just

pedaling along, minding your business, your

tasks, just jogging the streets, keeping time, getting by,

clocking in, clocking out, taking

lunch, making change, changing clothes, small

talking, chit-chatting, networking, working out,

board meeting, meeting up, winding down. Thrown

in: tripped up, choked up, caught up, knocked

down, taken back, pushed around, sideswiped, blindsided, like

that song: that smell. Cinnamon or lavender or

cookies. Like fresh rain, cut grass, a chlorinated pool.

Like a shoe store, like gasoline, like the state fair.

Like orange slices, the flower shop, your motherís

perfume, your fatherís aftershave: Club Man.

Like the dentistís office, the bus station,

the hardware. Like donuts and coffee. Like

coffee. Just exactly like being pushed down stairs.

Like a snake in the water, in the field. Like falling.

Just falling. Like being slugged. Like wanting

to be kissed. Like being kissed and kissed and

kissed. Like lightning, and thunder: that clap; then again

a whole storm of claps—smacks. Like going down

a slide, down a mountain, down a winding, winding road:

steep road. Like feeling your body: grooving—suddenly

feeling, all over, again. Feeling, and feeling, and

feeling: all right.



Micah Ling is the author of three collections of poetry, Three Islands, Sweetgrass, and Settlement (Sunnyoutside Press). She currently teaches writing courses at York CUNY and manages the website ringsidereviews.com



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