Shannon Ongaro: Early Memory of Bergen

Fall '12 TOC


Monsieur, je cherche une personne qui peut m'aider. C'est vous, ou non?

The world is vast, like oneself. Vast, an emptiness to be filled, or to remain a constant opening.

I have been in the wilderness, the one that questionably exists. Our Montana weaves a golden river west to east and north, into the arctic reserves of the girl in me. Walleye and fishy friends drift about quiet, dark eddies. There, I dreamed of a clean-shaven man I once loved. He too weaves through me, much as others do. And there were other dreams, salted by memory and the color of cottonwoods in fall.

What if



What if memory were the crest of a wave, shocking the rest of mind to attention? The memory of one friend leads to another friend to another. To another.

We lounged in the sun in the back yard of my house on Third Street. We sipped coffee, spoke of our lives.

To another. He too still in my dreams, my present day dreams. How I adored this friend. How I adore. Tenses are insufficient for describing memory.


Memory builds an arc, its energy rushing toward gravity's inverse angle. We ocean's surfers see line, but more than line. A burst and collision of water/wind/moon tide/ reef or sandy bottom/more salt/a swell growing from years of distance seaward. Memory, a sea of my mind's cavernous going and going.


To walk across this ocean to another friend, I stave myself against myself. I will forget sleepless nights and soul's fatigue to be present for another. If I do not sacrifice myself for friendship, then what is the source for future memory? How do I arrive at this when what I wanted, I thought, was something else? A parade of question marks dances down this page, mocking me, the one pretending to know so much.

So if memory is neither line nor moment, it must be breath. Excessive in and out.

But the cottonwoods in fall.

How do they do that?

There is no hope for memory in these certain scenarios.


Not Enough Night
Not Enough Night
© 2012 Naropa University