Monday, October 6, 2008

Pattern Recognition

I woke in the middle of the night to a phone call from a good friend. I forgot to turn off my phone before going to bed, but I'm glad I kept it on. She's going through some harsh realizations concerning the people closest to her, friends she has noticed are not really friends at all. "I'm not going to lose you," she said with conviction, "I need you." And I told her I needed her as well, which got me to thinking about friendships. Lately, it seems like all around me conflicts have been arising--with my friends and their friends and even myself and mine. These conflicts are the result of a continued lack of good judgment, miscommunication and perhaps even the stubbornness of not wanting to break out of a pattern. So at what point do we realize that we're better off without them?

Sitting with my legs tucked in on the floor of my bedroom, I grabbed a pen and my Moleskine. I wrote down my thoughts and confessions to try and create my own aphorisms regarding this issue. I looked up at my bookshelf and reached for Monica De La Torre's collection of poems, "Talk Shows." Its bright orange cover had caught my eye as it sat nestled between other books of black and gray bindings. I flipped open to a random page and read Pattern Recognition. All throughout the poem are single lines among full stanzas. The stanzas reveal (to me) a bitter disconnection of remembered images and the distraction of the lessons learned whereas the single lines insert declarative statements of her own perceived facts regarding relationships of any kind. One of these lines, on the page I had opened to (the poem is three pages long) read:

Some souvenirs pierce the space where daily thoughts fit organized. (45)

I'm not going to share my interpretation of that line but it really stopped me. With ten perfectly placed words De La Torre captures an honest truth that I think apply differently to each person who reads it. Everything about our daily lives is cyclical, from the routine executed in the morning, our jobs, our chores, and even the season's changing marked by dying leaves. Also in the mix of this cycle are the people we keep near, who color and perpetuate the cycle. Do we continue on and again convince ourselves that next time will be different or do we sever the ties that bind and choose a different color?

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