Monday, July 11, 2016

Eileen R. Tabios, From “The Opposite of Claustrophobia: Prime’s Anti-Autobiography”

                               Komma Klawed Magnolia, image by Irene Koronas

From “The Opposite of Claustrophobia: Prime’s Anti-Autobiography”

I forgot admiring women who refuse to paint their lips.

I forgot the liberating anonymity conferred by travel: Mindanao, Berlin, Melbourne, Amsterdam, Istanbul became hours requiring no count.

I forgot obviating memory for what I believed was a higher purpose.

I forgot feeling you in the air against my cheek.


I forgot longing for a sky without horizon, but acceding instead to the eye’s clamor against the opposite of claustrophobia.

I forgot you thought of me as you paced the streets of a city whose sidewalks memorized the music of my footsteps dancing away from youth into courage.

I forgot I lit alleys by leaving scarlet roses whose perfume, I hoped, you would discern.

I forgot you saw each virgin moon as a ruby you wanted for adorning my body.

I forgot you startled the girl whose poetry elicits dragon scales from empathetic muscles.


I forgot England with its glazed chintzes bearing sprays of rose, peony, hydrangea and gladiola—names evoking country houses: Bowood, Amberley, Sissinghurst, Sutherland.

I forgot the rest of Greece, its national heat waiting.

I forgot you falling asleep in my skin to dream.


I forgot radiance must penetrate if it is to caress, and its price can never reach blasphemy.

—Eileen R. Tabios