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Poems | Poems | The Man With No Memory

The Man With No Memory

The Man With No Memory
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He wakes up every day
to a fresh morning:
unblemished, unburdened
by memory or routine,
his mind a tabula rasa.
He cannot remember
even his own name.
Every day he must relearn
habits built over a lifetime.
The once closest relationships
all distant to a mind
wiped clean of memory.

In the beginning he despaired.
Who are these people,
claiming to know me?
What am I doing, trapped
in a body unfamiliar?

The man with no memory
had a name, a past,
but now he must create
a present without the comfort
of recognizing his wife, his daughters;
without patterns of behaviour.
He stepped out
from the boundaries
of linear time;
he can only live
in an eternal now,
each action a new reaction.
Amnesiac victim of a car accident,
he is learning to give
motivational speeches,
to share his dream-like existence.

Every day he assembles
his persona anew;
and so he has learned to live
one day at a time.
When he awakes he says,
Good morning, morning.
He adds, Good morning,
unknown self. And then,
Good morning, intimate strangers.
He endeavours to live
that one, single day
by being the best person
he can be, disconnected
from the ballast of past
or future. In his accident-
damaged brain
he is given each day
as a separate entity,
forced to recreate time
and his own self.

After five years of struggle
to remember
and rage at forgetting,
he has arrived at the point
where he accepts his life
is to be lived
in a mental state
usually achieved only
by years of meditation
or spiritual devotion:
the man with no memory
lives suspended in the moment,
knowing he is a nobody,
only a speck of consciousness,
alive at this particular instant.

A tribute to Terry Evanshen, Canadian football hero


Copyright by Carolyn Zonailo:, 2004 | Poems | The Man With No Memory
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Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Zonailo attended ...
CZ is a visionary poet who writes with compassion and careful detail about the world she lives in.
GoddessThe Goddess in the Garden combines mystical insight and sensual language to evoke a timeless meadow where humans and deities play out eternal passions.
She draws on her study of mythology, astrology, and Jungian psychology, for a seemingly inexhaustible source of imagery.
There is a quality in her work which makes all her poems hers, but Zonailo’s style does differ. Compendium is a collection of short, lyrical poetry; Zone 5 of prose. Each book is an extension of her poetic exploration and a separate expression.
Over the years of sitting in Grant's Cafe or the Europa and talking poetry with Lewis Gretsinger, the questions have been asked: why write? what are you saying? what are your poetics?
Last Will and Testament
I give my soul to God.
I give my body to the earth.
I give my poems to posterity.
I give my spirit to tolerance.
I give my mind to the future.
Forthcoming Titles
The Land of Motionless ChildhoodThe Land of Motionless Childhood is a memoir of short stories by Carolyn Zonailo about growing up in Vancouver, and her Doukhobor heritage.
Photo Gallery
CZPictures of CZ from her 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s.
Literary Papers
Spanning the years 1955 to 2005, the Carolyn Zonailo Papers holds, as nearly as possible, a currently complete collection of Zonailo's extant literary papers.
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