Rhythms: Sometimes, a Strange Desire to Forget by Lisa Marie Popp

The Past is Present by LJ Frank, Artist

I remember

the day Richard Nixon resigned

because on that day I saw

my sister’s teacher sitting

in a long dress

on a curb

by a busy street

eating chocolate cake

out of a tinfoil and

ignoring the fact

that passing cars

were blowing her skirt

in her face.


I used to bang the back

of my head against

the back of the sofa

and get a certain euphoric feeling

I used to

lay face down

in the new grass every spring

and get a certain sexual feeling

I’d marvel at the cases of coca-cola

stacked to the ceiling

and red-faced men in rundown bars

whispering a vaporized, Amen”

I gripped the bar stool

with white knuckles.



we pelted each other

with shaved ice

or ran barefoot terror

the night oozed with strange screams

a raccoon began tap-dancing on the roof,

where I come from is

a hamburger town, not

the buckle in the Bible belt

some friends followed the illusion

to scale the wall of America

abandon the rhetoric of love

for the politics of rage

like maddened locusts

get lost on highways

divided by sea-green walls

And poles.


I used to

grip the back seat of the church pew

in front of me

with snow-white knuckles

the gray-headed salvation squad

loomed over my head

like a distortion of a movie

from the very front row

I would see a magnified tear

rolling down their fallen cheeks

in rare slow motion

while whispering a vaporized, “Amen.”