time capsule


all these years erased, memories faded
to blots of ink&dust (rewritten and smudged

in/by a whirlwind of a mind)

nothing is real (nor unreal) in an unchanged sun’s
beckoning light, that falls cold
on the fullness (red pulp &orange rind) of my ripe skin.

this air is not the air that carries
voices &smells across the plateau of another time.

years that were gone/erased —

i never left, never became
a person (more than a hollow bone &pain)
never knew of my left side from right —

as i enter the body
i left behind,
it opens —

dreams drained of any colour, swallowed portions
of rotting needs, all figure in my deadpan speech,

all slow motions to a dead end, as in a little disk of a film,

b&w, sepia, deepening into monochrome lines,

breathing, talking, ageing
but not alive.

© Anmol Arora

Image source (The Past is Present by Ellen Brook)

Linking it up with my prompt for dVerse Poetics on Portals


24 thoughts on “time capsule

  1. I agree with Björn, that we need the past to really be alive. This poem could be about dementia or amnesia, which both frighten me, and remind me of my mother’s final years, especially the lines:
    ‘all these years erased, memories faded
    to blots of ink&dust’;
    ‘this air is not the air that carries
    voices &smells across the plateau of another time’
    ‘breathing, talking, ageing
    but not alive.’

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Beverly Crawford says:

    We are the sum of our choices, but while we’re living we have the opportunity to write a new chapter. The angst in this poem touched me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I felt the cycle of moving round the round the same memories, breathing but not alive. Still for me, there a light when past & not good memories are replaced by happier ones.

    This is the part that struck me the most:

    this air is not the air that carries
    voices &smells across the plateau of another time.

    years that were gone/erased —

    Liked by 1 person

  4. As I read your poem I recalled my Father – in- law who had Alzheimer’s desease and went though memory losses similar to what you describe her. It is a tough portal to enter and a tough portal to pass through.


  5. This is raw…to have memories and person hood erased. We must come to terms with our history to move into future with purpose. Great prompt!


  6. Glenn A. Buttkus says:

    My senior moments multiply with each season. Thank the gods for the internet, for I can find that name, title, or thing that is eluding me in under a minute, and I can rekindle a spark where ash has collected. You had me at “on the fullness (red pulp & orange rind) of my ripe skin”; masterful job.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The angst of your poem moved me. Maybe it is not so much that our past is being erased but that we now have the option of closing the door on it and re-creating ourselves anew.


  8. kaykuala

    breathing, talking, ageing
    but not alive.

    With all the contention spelled out yet, it is not even alive. Very good close Anmol.
    It invoked the feeling of expecting the unexpected!



  9. I actually love the calm pervasive almost monistic tapestry here. The passage is of littel consequence, wherever you go, there you are, or aren’t as the case may be. The Sartrian imperative to Be or to Become, well to hell with that? why be anxious about the person you never became, because the person you are is right here, and we are all in it together. There is no shame in this, only solidarity.
    I am reminded of Richard II

    “Or shall we play with our woes and devise some clever game with our tears? We could keep them falling continually in one spot until they’ve carved us a pair of graves in the earth. We’d lie in the graves, and the tombstone would say “There lie two relatives who dug their graves with tears.” Wouldn’t that be a good game to play?”

    Or Laura Jane Grace sang more succinctly:
    “All the things that I have yet to lose, will some day be gone too, back into annihilation. All things must change, maybe it’s better off that way, I wish you’d stay with me”

    And Anmol:
    “as i enter the body
    i left behind,
    it opens —”

    You are never really living until you are totally sure you are dying (again Laura Jane Grace). La Chaim!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I like the idea that a time capsule can never capture the breathing colorful vivid essence of life. This seems like a cautionary tale for the leaders who envision uploading human brains into a robot, like the powerful song lyrics you’ve given us: “maybe this time I can be strong, but since I know who I am, probably wrong.” “I can go far, thinking of where I’ve been is helping me start.”

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Favorite lines:

    “this air is not the air that carries
    voices &smells across the plateau of another time”.

    “b&w, sepia, deepening into monochrome lines,”

    I really liked the surreal quality of this – reminds me of the Bardo stat BBuhddists speak of or limbo – though the bardo is closer. The narrator seems more like a “hungry ghost” to me than a live person.

    I really like the why you used parenthetical phrases, Its a device I find extremely useful at times for interjected asides that edify without wrenching the reader out of the mood/image I’m creating.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I enjoyed the shapes you created in this poem and the flow of “swallowed portions
    of rotting needs, all figure in my deadpan speech,”
    Thank you for the great prompt and exploration.


  13. I’ve wondered why dreams seem to slip away so easily, but as memories become less distinct for me I begin to wonder if they were actually dreams. Moments that were – are – so important to me, now lost, hold a new kind of sorrow.

    Liked by 1 person

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