The Future of Our Past

— from “ Thirty & Ba Mươi ” —

I’m glad there was no smartphone when I was growing up
Or there would be a whole lot more embarrassing records of me
Not that there isn’t enough already
But anymore and I won’t even be able to show my face
I know what you’re thinking: he’s a “homebody” anyway!
But that’s a story for another day
For now, let’s focus on what we do to remember
The things that happened, the things we try to keep
And even the things we try so hard to forget, yet can’t
It’s the past, the bell that tolls in our metaphysical body,
Like a bullhorn with a mild case of Alzheimer, sometimes, it rants
Most of images and words are fragments
Like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle trying to fit each other
And although a complete story is often an impossibility,
Beauty lies in the fact that our soul continues to yearn for the full picture.

This is why we find ourselves at odds
with our own desire to record
Every moment and every thought
With every piece of technology available to us
From cave walls
to skin of animals,
pen and paper, typewriter and cameras
Now we combined everything into one smartphone
Which we often use for doing anything but “smart” and “phone.”

It’s a rather natural workflow now-a-day
Snap the picture of whatever
and share it on multiple social networks right away
Then we wait
For the awesome internet karma to roll in
All the likes and comments
make us feel significant,
even if it’s just for a little bit.

And just like that, our past has become
bits and pixels
Digitized and saved to different channels
But like the fear of photography
as a destructive force against traditional arts
The “pen of nature” is simply another medium, a part
of a giant vessel we use to carry our past to the future
But the tricky thing about the past
is that you can never be sure
It’s like a charcoal
you thought has been out long ago
Then a quick wind fans it into flame
which can burn down an entire house of emotional stability.

So tell me:
How would one record the stark and frisky morning in Winter?
Or a depression like a corpse we dig up one time or another
Or that ache we get,
slow and ambivalent like a leaf floating to us on an Autumn river
Or how we try to collect all those feelings
in hope to make our past rhymes
for some times, then some others
Our past lingers
not in images, videos or any other medium we know
But more like a knot slowly tightening our soul
So we feel, we remember and we continue to be.

So let us not worry
about the future of our past
For however long our lives will last
We will remember
With all the instruments of God
We will remember.

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