Missed Connections in New Orleans
The Tyranny of Memory
You sit in the parlor contemplating a cigarette; rolling it between your index finger and thumb. The cigarette rolling over joint and onto the tips of your fingers. You chew your lower lip in deep concentration. No, you’re not thinking about your next cigarette or whether to change into a new shirt. You’re not thinking about what you’ll cook for dinner or whether it’s time to do your laundry again. Staring through your wall and out into the street and past the bayou and past the trees and over the crest of the small hill…you’re looking back.
You continue to twirl your cigarette in your hand as you slowly stand up and walk onto your porch. The flame of your lighter dances back and forth as you inhale deeply, calmly. You briefly smell camphor and cluck your tongue lightly on the tip of your teeth. The sun is setting behind you while the tyranny of memory strokes your consciousness; tugging and pulling at the bottom of your rib cage. Here you are. Here you are. Here you are.
But what have you done?
“But what have you done?” is a question directed to all of us, actually. It starts with the cigarette-rolling, ruminating protagonist in our New Orleans’ poet scene, but it runs so much deeper. I recently saw a tweet that said, “Bad stories are about the writer. Good stories are about all of us.” and while I partially disagreed with it on first reading, this piece of writing brought it back into my mind in a different light. The Tyranny of Memory is a reflection of all of us. Here you are. What have you done?