Things Lost: An Inspection
If I said I had the cameo earrings my grandma gave me on my 11th birthday, I
would be lying. I lost them in the tangled blue carpet in my bedroom or down
the bathroom drain at Maywood
Junior High School or in the hayloft where I was hiding so I could read
Little Women instead of feeding the chickens.
If I said I found the cameo earrings my grandma gave me on my 11th birthday
in my motherís sweater drawer 20 years later when I was helping her pack for
a trip to Alaska, Iíd be telling the truth.
If I said I lost my virtue in the back seat of a Chrysler on a cold March
night when rain threatened to wash the car and half the town away, Iíd be
If I said I lost my best friend Jesse over a careless remark I made while
cleaning the bathtub, I would be telling the truth.
If loss is yellow-green like a bruised cloud waiting to rain but unable to
If memory is connected to loss and ceaselessly moving via theoretical
constructs invented in laboratories.
If laboratories are constructs of the mind's eye.
If imagination is the only sane link in a chain of loss.
If that chain is made of yellow gold and has a cameo in cream and rust with
loose tendrils drifting, hanging somewhere between here and the North.
If my mother is a thief for my own good.
Things Lost: A Documentary
1. Afternoon. Bright, filtered light. The cramped bathroom of a single wide
SUBTITLE: ďThey take and take. It wonít stop.Ē
2. Dappled sun strikes the inside of the bathtub which is green from Comet.
Her voice echoes.
3. The phone drops from her shoulder to the lavender bath mat. Yellow gloved
hand picks it up, puts it back between bare shoulder and freckled ear.
4. She is listening, eyes empty, mouth working.
SUBTITLE: She was not a person who saw as clearly as she believed.
5. She is leaning over the tub, scrubbing with one hand, clenching the phone
with the opposite shoulder.
6. A trapezoid of light turns her hair copper.
7. His voice catches her breath. Stops. She hears an AM radio out of tune, a
bird nag his wife in the yucca tree outside.
8. She is standing now, bending to pick up the phone, again.
9.She drags the gloves off her hands. She lights a cigarette that had been
lying on the sink top, waiting. She drags deeply. Her hands smell of rubber.
The sun clouds itself, a ratty bathrobe.
SUBTITLE: Loss is a common.
10. She listens to the dead phone. She missed something.
SUBTITLE: I canít do this anymore. Ö Ok. She missed something, she
thinks [confused gentle furrow of brow].
11. She is lying on the big brass bed. The white cover a frame for her dark,
straight form. She smoothes her hair, her green dress, her mouth. Listens.
12. Sunlight stipples through the lilac bush outside. The ghost of the man
who lived her before gestures broadly.
13. She stands by the kitchen sink and watches the chimes move noiselessly.
14. It smells like sweet peas.
15. She sits a while on the couch looking at the typography of his name, on
SUBTITLE: Bare bones, the obvious (what she missed).
16. She is teaching a class, years later, showing a slide of Manetís Ragpicker.
She stops and is unable to speak. She stares up at the bent man.
SUBTITLE: As usual, she missed the king for the lack of sceptre.
Lost: The Epic Literary Version
In Things (a story of the 1960s), George Perec
fixates on conception
where wishing is dreaming and
having is loss.
War and Love are never simple things for my mother
who might be Joan Didion
On some other plane and when she imagined The Last Thing He Wanted,
She had definitely forgotten about me.
And then I was in 5th grade and we
Watched the homecoming parade from the curb
In our plaid pants, matching neck kerchiefs,
And the toilet paper flowers on the float vibrated when it
Was issued forth that
WE WILL WE WILL
you. And at the same time Buddy
Bolden was twisting his way down
Canal Street or Burbon Street or
Audubon Place where his mother-in-law
Like to drink with Michael Ondaatje while they wondered what it meant
To be Coming Through Slaughter.
After junior high, a horror story of its own,
the grippe isolated us from the rest of the village and
Horror was a real as brown eggs and
pancakes with bacon.
When we drove through the Badlands, I remembered that Days of Heaven were few
and far between. Fortunately those Flock of Seagulls hairdos were gone. But
Family Viewing made me remember I lost my mother the one that maybe Atom
Egoyan knew but then he went to France with Terrence Malik.
When the Russians first visited Solaris, they ran out of film and Tarkofsky
had to piece together black and white footage with color. There is also some
found Super 8 of the river outside his Grandmotherís dascha, the place where
she drank coffee with my grandmother and they supervised the girls for the
rolling of the pie crust.
that! Itíll be
Recently I found Isabel when I lost my life without me and
I lied to Netflix about it being
Mailed on Monday. I donít have any idea
what happened to it.
Is it possible to make someone fall in love with you
If you have false nails
And a lot of dirty laundry?
HD Imagist said (after Ezra Pound made her)
Violet, Your grasp is frail or
Pale if one is wearing glasses
Yellow Gold slip by strong
Never pausing to wonder
If moving that fast
Results in the
Wrong and Right.
April Durham is a writer and visual artist who builds a story
through accumulation in both her texts and visual works. Recent publications
include Midway Journal, Phantom Seed, and Slouching
Toward Mt. Rubidoux. She has exhibited widely in 2009 in strange places
Angeles International Airport, The Armory Center in Pasadena,
and the museo archeologico di Amelia (maA) in Umbria, Italy. She is the
director of Small Wonder Foundation, an experimental venue for art and
literature and the publisher of [com]motion, an online magazine and
curatorial venue. She is a PhD student in the Comparative Literature
department at UC Riverside.