Then Came Memory

By Niklas Stephenson


Before memory there was youth
a world open to dreams
realistic opportunity
the smell of wet grass in the mornings
fog slowly lifting up to unveil a day
of innocence
and beauty
and something we called youth
a mind infinite in potential to see goodness and peace throughout any shape life may take
alcoholic parents or neglect
schoolyard fights and broken hearts
was always temporary
potential of goodness and peace

then came memory
and understanding
that the world had grown darker
that the fog unveils the truth of a day
that will bring bombs and killing and corruption and exploitation to parts of the world we have never been able to spell the names of because we never knew they existed
somewhere in this world isnt here.

then came memory
and seeing
burning towers thousands dead as they jump from the skies to save themselves from suffering wondering what it was all for and seeing
some form of malevolence in our world killing innocence and people we don’t know but are us all because who would do such things and we sat infront of the television crying and calling relatives.

then came memory
feeling a sense of solidarity and community and pride because some texan pimp of politics said they were attacking our way of life and freedom.

then came memory
and confusion
trying to figure out what this freedom means as soldiers scurry through the school bus looking for bombs and the people in charge caging us into communities saying it is for our own protection.

then came confusion
because noone could answer questions about freedom but the emotion portrayed and given was one of fear and jealousy, two emotions never felt before in youth that are so strong they led us on into believing something we knew nothing about

then came memory
and sorrow
because our mothers and fathers were being shipped off to go fight a war against those they said were the haters of our freedom and innocence and you see thousands of families displaced and scattered because our freedom that we knew nothing about was more important tham the compassion and love we all needed and will forever need. what will we do to those people there?

then came memory
and relief
because the invasion was a success though noone understood what it meant we hoped that it would bring back the fiber we need to believe in life.

then came memory
and anger
because noone came back long enough to fix the broken hearts and broken souls because they found another place somewhere someone might have a problem with the freedoms and things we don’t understand.

then came memory
and understanding
that these wars and invasions are a racket and the perpetual war is an industry and me and my brothers and sisters are the pegs in this giant wheel meant to kill kill kill for profit that will ensure our freedom but when I went home I saw that noone really had anything except a few and some were hated for no reason and wondering if we fight wars against places like this, because we should these people aren’t free or alive
getting murdered and beaten by the police
thrown into the jail industry for the profit of a few but the destroyed life of a single soul doesn’t matter
some working more hours than the day to survive but when they are sick they are left to die
and some who sleep on the streets are spiked out of places to lay down and rest and the insane get guns for treatment because the access is easier and some christian cult leaders live in multi million mansions exploiting the goodwill of true christians.
and the corruption
and jealousy
and hate
and class ignorance
and poverty

then came memory
and a change
because I was lied to
my entire life
by those with power


Niklas “Manik” Stephenson is a German American writer and poet currently living in Speyer, Germany. He has published three chapbooks of poetry with Analog Submission Press and self-published a novel, “Bloodbursts,” available on Amazon. In his spare time, he provocates whoever and whatever he can and finds peace with his wife, son and family. Instagram @_manikbloc_

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