Friday, May 3, 2024

Caver Beware

There are chambers in the brain
Consciousness should leave alone,
Awareness never visit—

Not the Freudian corners,
Not Jungian archetypes,
Just basements of memory

So jumbled and waterlogged,
So prone to radon and mice,
That the value of the search

Is unlikely to exceed
The expense to mental health,
Not in terms of emotion

But in terms of confusion.
If you really understood
How memory storage works,

You might could disentangle
The webs from the Christmas lights.
But you don’t. Think of your dreams,

Think of the thousands of years
Spent by millions of people
Attempting to explain them

And still failing, still failing.
Unless those dreams are magic,
Drawing from other sources,

Everything strange about them
Came from memory’s basement,
Your own memory’s basement,

And there’s likely good reason
The brain’s evolved to forget
Dreams by and large. If it weren’t

For language, how it tangles
Facts in syntax and syntax
In narrative, rewiring

Events to wrap up a few
In knots you can’t tease apart,
No dreams would be remembered.

You’re not gaining anything
Spelunking in memory
With language that won’t come back

Except in a monstrous mess.
Something’s going on in there,
Something retelling won’t clear.

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