People always ask me:
“How do you memorize all of that?”
And the truth is the first girl I ever kissed, tasted like tomatoes.
And I know this, because the second girl I ever kissed tasted like pepper.
It wasn’t unpleasant.
It’s just that I was expecting tomatoes.
When I was a kid I was fascinated by space
And I learnt that time slows near a black hole.
Inside a black hole time stops altogether.
Whether or not this theory will ever be proved,
I’m moved to believe this would be the perfect place to love someone.
In grade 4 my gym teacher gave me the nick name half-ton.
It was a name that stuck.
I remember it, because it was the first I ever told someone:
“go fuck yourself!” and meant it.
He quit calling me the name after he called my house
Trying to get me in trouble for what I’d said,
To which my grandmother replied:
“Mr. Shithead, I told him to say it.”
I remember my grandfather’s blue tool kit,
Where he hid a secret stash of raisins.
I recall thinking: “My granddad has the worst taste in candy.”
But he did teach me how to tie a tie.
My first opportunity to apply this knowledge was my first date,
A seventh grade class mate, who showed up wearing acid washed jeans and a Def Leppard t-shirt.
I wore a suit and tie.
When she asked why I was all dressed up,
I told her: “My other clothes smell funny.”
I am not saying it ended badly,
But she wound up leaving me for a boy,
who could make farting noises with his arm-pit.
I’m forced to admit - he was pretty cool.
My fourth grade teacher had a rule about speaking out of turn.
Failure to learn and practise this lesson
would result in having to sit outside.
I know this, because I’ve tried it once.
When she finally came out to check on me, she asked:
“What was so important, that it couldn’t wait?”
Knowing that it’s rude to point,
But needing to illustrate my position,
I gestured to her chest and said:
“Your boob is hanging out.”
She quickly covered up and corrected me: “Breast.”
She was a good teacher.
When I was twelve, I was given an academic diagnostics test.
Later the instructor informed me,
I had an aptitude for history.
He looked puzzled when I replied:
“Yeah, but that was yesterday. Today I’m more interested in tomorrow.”
I remember it,
Because the next day I asked a girl if I could borrow a pen.
When I offered it back she said:
“You should write me a letter with it first.”
So I did, wrote her a note,
Which the teacher then intercepted and read to the class.
It was something that we’d learnt in science that day
about the way gravity affects mass and weight
in relation to how quickly something will fall.
A crumpled ball of paper will fall at the same speed as a boulder of granite.
It doesn’t matter how much something weighs,
It stays the same until you consider surface area and resistance,
At which point the persistence of gravity loses force.
Crumple a piece of paper into a ball.
It will fall faster than a loose sheet.
They are both composed of the same mass and weight,
So you’d think that the rate of velocity measured with the force of gravity
Would cause each to fall at the same speed.
But that’s when you need to consider that the greater surface area of the loose sheet adds resistance.
So the crumpled ball will fall quickly,
But the loose sheet will slowly float.
I wrote a note.
Explaining that when two people are falling for each other,
They do so at the same speed.
There’s no need to factor in the physics explanations
or something we can make no use of.
Einstein said: “Gravity won’t be held responsible for people falling in love.”
I wrote her a note.
Telling her: “If I fall in love with you,
No one will ever be able to explain it.
And I think that’s beautiful.”
Despite the class laughing, she did as well,
Which is how I can tell you that I then knew and now still know,
she tasted like tomatoes.
I don’t remember the way every song goes.
I can’t recall ever y person I’ve met.
I get names mixed up all the time.
I’m terrible with birthdays.
But I remember all the ways people have affected me.
How our stories became memories.
And if you were enough then you’re in there somewhere.
Maybe it was a truth or dare kiss,
Or a simple act of kindness,
one that reminded me to remember this moment
and mark it as a memory , so we could both have it to look back on.
From this life, I’ve drawn conclusions so big,
They can’t fit into the tiny comic book boxes,
Because I don’t wanna risk losing the detail,
Just so I can make the story fit.
It’s not a trick.
I remember how things felt.
Which in turn makes me remember how things happened.
Like my first attempt at skateboarding,
Where I received a down to the bone skinned knee.
I remember a tree that looked like a man,
With huge arms trying to hold up the sky.
I used to try to climb it to the very top,
until one day I didn’t, couldn’t get down.
I remember the man with the brown car
Tried to convince me he was sent to pick me up by my mom.
Number 1, I lived with my grandparents,
Number 2, he didn’t know the safety word.
I recall when it finally occurred to me,
I’m pretty fantastic.
It’s not magic.
I remember because I make comparisons.
Not in terms of better or worse, just different.
And not all of these memories are great, but they’re mine.
Which lends way to believe,
That none of our lives are put together on an assembly line.
We’re not pre-packaged with memories or programmed with stories.
We have to make our own.
And they all come “batteries not included”.
And with the endless opportunities we have dearly,
Seldom do we take the time necessary to record, rewind and press play.
In our own way, we are all ghetto blasters at top volume.
We consume silence with noise,
Speakers pounding out our heartbeats as we write refund receipts for the broken ear drums of people who could hear us live.
We give up our self’s time,
Precious, because its quality is limited only by your ability to live within it.
Put yourself into every second of every minute,
And you will have a life worth remembering.
Just because we don’t have forever,
Doesn’t mean we have to live our lives moving towards the end,
As if on a conveyer belt.
I felt nothing short of astonished when people asked me:
“How do you memorize all of that?”
The fact of the matter is,
It’s not a trick.
There is no thick curtain you need to pull away,
No little old man making it all work from behind a locked door.
You yourself probably remember before when I told you that,
Near a black hole, time slows.
Inside a black hole is where I wanted to grow tomatoes.
Tomatoes by Shane Koyczan