Kay Tipsord’s poem “The Affects of History” begins with the great concern of all art: “the problem of memory.” And like someone fashioning a breakable world, the poet delivers detail with a careful hand, effectively directing the eye distracted by the immensity of the universe to something so small, it is the only thing that matters.
— Rocío Carlos, author of Attendance, poetry prize judge
The Affects of History
The problem of memory
Is the problem of a particular design
In a carpet, or the distance
The ground is from a window when it rains.
The problem of time
Is not its depletions but its accretions.
We arrive in new quarters bearing
Entire houses we lived in the summer we were twenty;
Ride random memories like funhouse cars
Doors flying open at our approach
Generally revealing something unpleasant.
Pain stays plainer than pleasure,
When the air carries the scent of a cologne
You wore to the senior prom
Down the street of a strange city.
Someone is playing guitar chords;
Across the tile roofs the sound
Surrounds you with another town
The problem of living
Past twenty or forty is the distance
One town is from another,
The distance the rain has to fall.