I've been gnawing on the bones of the past for years.
I dig them up every now and then
but it's comforting just to know they're there.
It's an unmarked grave, the past,
but I know where it is.
6 April 1991
I’m not sure when nostalgia befell me but it crept up on me in my fifties. One day I found myself looking up, needing to look up people online I’d not thought about in over thirty years. I’d had Internet access since 1996 but it took me until, say, 2010 to think to do this. I’d never been one for looking back not even to watch the bridges burn. As I said in Living with the Truth: “Nostalgia—sounds like an ailment, a sickness of the soul perhaps.” And later in Left: “I’m not prone to bouts of nostalgia or even retrospection, not normally (I’m making an exception for you here); introspection, yes, I like being inside my own head, I’m comfortable in my own skin…”
These poems I’ve been posting for the last while are bones I’ve buried. I know where they are, on the bottom shelf behind me in the office. They used to all fit in one big red binder but now they’re in two and ‘Bones’ is in the Garfield binder. I treat them like reference books. Christ knows the last time I sat down and just read any of them for my own enjoyment. I don’t need to read them. But I do need to have them.