Sunday, September 12, 2010

Remembering Remember Me

Many of you are already familiar with WhyIstheRumAlwaysGone who is a frequent commenter on this site. Rum has written a beautiful piece which looks at Remember Me through a series of written snapshots, incorporating the themes of love and loss.

Rum also writes for her blog, Regards sur le film Remember Me (Looking at Remember Me). Written in French, and also translated into English, it is another excellent site for both reading, learning about, seeing new points of view and discussing Remember Me. This piece was the 100th post on her site.

If you enjoyed reading her piece here, please make sure to check out her site (our sister site)and see what she has to offer there.
Regards sur le film Remember Me


Remembering Remember Me
-by WhyIstheRumAlwaysGone


The infinite sweetness of love. The dark, numbing pain of loss and death. Melancholy days. Summer flying by too fast like life. A rustle of leaves in the tall trees of the park, while a brother and a sister sit softly talking about their mother’s grief, about their other brother, gone forever. They smile, and then at the same time a shadow of sorrow crosses both their faces and darkens their eyes, like the flitting play of light and shadow in the leaves above their heads.

Shadows race across the garden of childhood and youth, the clouds gently dimming the sun.

Leaves murmur in the summer trees, so softly, like the voice of the dead young man, whispering in the wind as the pages of his unfinished diary flutter among the ashes. The wind, remembering him, carries his voice for a little while before it lets it fade and go away.

The shrill cries of playing children echo in the park around them as he reclines, smiling, against his old bike, and teases his little sister with an imaginary busy agenda.
The shrill cries of children, floating on the blue air of a September day, as they jostle each other on their way to school. Their laughter echoes all over the great city, as the face of the young man dissolves behind the high window.

The sea waves whispering on the beach, when he was still alive, as he sat on the sand scribbling away some secrets in his tattered diary.



The ringing laughter of life and love, when the bare feet young woman hurls herself at him in a whirlwind of golden hair and kisses him, sprawled flat on his back, sending the diary flying away into the white, white sand.
A flutter of pages, forgotten in the insistence of the moment, smothered in their joyful giggles and their tender kisses. Love swirling like a wave over them, washing his inner darkness away, as his words lose themselves in the white, white sand.

The sweet afternoon light of a waning summer, laughter echoing again in the beautiful beach house by the sea, red wine so dark in their glasses, as the lovers sit entwined on the sofa, looking at their friend doing some silly charade.
She reclines against him, forgetful, her body warm and soft, while he buries pensively his face in her hair and strokes her head. His own messy and unruly hair sticks up in funny spikes, like a little boy’s, and makes him look terribly young.

The sweet, sad tinkle of a cascade of piano notes, flowing like a crystal brook, weaving and unfolding a darkening, poignant theme, as summer draws to a close. Hovering, trembling notes in the tower, like the last beatings of a heart.



The trains of life rattle past, screeching and jolting, arriving too soon or too late, blurring faces and identities. A man with a crumpled face and hunched shoulders, carrying his little golden-haired daughter, steps downstairs into the gaping darkness, as into his tomb. The blackness downstairs devours them.
The black eye of a golden sunflower, pinned on the heart of a weary clown, sleeping the sad sleep of exhaustion in the subway train.
The black tattoo of a dead brother’s name etched on the heart of the weary young man, as he watches the clown sleep.

Departing trains. Choices. Too soon, or too late. Life or death as a door opens, or closes.

The boom and thump of loud music in the underground gloom of a nightbar, bathed in an eerie red and blue glare. Plastic skeletons hang and swing from the ceiling, booze and cigarette smoke blur everything, mind and body, as the hookers and the easy girls buzz around the young men.
The thud of sex music, banter and boisterous nonsense, hollow words and smiles going wildly back and forth like an alcoholic swirl beneath the pulsating haze of the unnatural lights. Red and blue flashes flit on the young man’s features as his face and eyes slowly recede into absence, in the middle of the crowd and the pressing bodies of the women. In the middle of the booming night, he wraps himself into silence, as an unspeakable sadness, again, washes over him and darkens his eyes. The red and blue streaks of the neon lights flare up and down like candle flames and smear his face like a clown’s.



Out in the street the disembodied voice of the dead floats on the night air, like a mother calling her child from another world.
The young man briefly wakes up to death before he relapses again into silence. He allows himself to float a bit more like a ghost in his foggy no-man’s land, lost between the pull of death, the heavy screams of life and the siren songs of cheap street love.
Musicians scurry out of a doorway like beetles from the underworld. Beaten, beaten down, clubbed down and trampled face down on the pavement. The dreaming, grieving young man, lost in a haze of alcohol, his mind like the jerky graffiti on the walls, his blood slowly seething, wakes up to violence.
His fists beating beating down crushing bones and faces, pummeling nameless masses of flesh. Then the cop grabs him, beating beating him down, trampling him face down on the pavement, and he writhes and his blood flows and slowly congeals and cakes like dark red mud, forming a new clownish make-up on his bruised and swollen face.

Anger swaying back and forth. There’s walls and bars all around him, wherever he goes, walls of books and words and empty drunken nights filled with sex, the iron bars of enclosing shelves and jails.
Like a blind bird, he hurls himself at the bars of his jails, and he gets hurts every time.
A huge painting hangs on the wall of his father’s office, like a mass of black and white thorns, and he hurls himself against it in anger and pain, and gets lost in their labyrinth of charred ruins, and so he falls back, defeated, crumpled, shattered and torn.



He hurls himself against the walls of love, in rage and lust and sadness. He and the girl make love and their lovemaking is like a fight. He lifts her up and wraps her up against his hips and he thrusts and he takes her against the wall, without a word, and he’s rough and demanding and fierce, and so is she as he takes him into her body. On the wall, from the yellow poster, a prisoner’s huge anxious eyes scream wordlessly at their struggling bodies.


The infinite sadness washes over him in the night, flowing over his tattooed heart, as he lies staring at the ceiling, his eyes wide open like wounds, open to the darkness outside, attuned to the darkness inside.
His eyes are like wordless screams, pools filled with dried-up pain and unshed tears and infinite need.
But she sleeps, soft and white and golden like a dove, resting against his naked chest.
The infinite sweetness of love, as she rests, so light and tiny, against his body.



The endless rumbling and booming and singing of the great city, ever-present, playing a music of its own all around the boy’s flat, pervading it, hip hop and rap and rock encroaching though every crack and open window, thudding through the floors in a drunken beat. The voice of the city, deep and lazy in the summer, melodious and melancholy strains escaping and wrapping their sooty fingers around the young man’s heart, clenching it and tearing it apart, carrying the unbearable memory of a dead, loved face. Memories of other fingers striking chords on an old guitar, songs gone silent and struck dumb, a mute echo of them still reverberated on the feverish faces of the musicians in the framed black and white pictures on the walls and shelves. The voice of the city, humming, laced with car horns and cries and tyres screeching on the asphalt and trains rumbling past, as the two young men sit on their roof terrace, guzzling beer, listening to music or stroking their old battered guitar, or maybe some girls, candles softly burning away into the dusk. Both of them slowly getting drunk with music and darkness and desire and youth, the city all around, night and day, full of sweet and violent songs. The city, seedy and dark, glaring and strident, softened and rustling, rolling, singing, humming, calling, drowning in its own melody, wallowing in its exuberance and sadness, its tunes settling with the soot and dust on the walls and windows of the boys’ flat and into their hearts.

They laugh softly in the deepening dusk, the wavering candleflames picking out their faces in the dark. They laugh and banter and sing, strumming the guitar and stroking their girls, till it gets so dark they can’t see the strings any more, or the faces of their lovers.
When the candles start to sputter and die, and it gets so dark they can’t play anymore, and they have drained all the bottles, they get up and leave the roof terrace, their hands around the waists of the girls, and they drift far away into the noisy streets or go back to the flat to make love.


The curling smoke of a cigarette in the morning air. The young man sits on the steel stairs of the fire escape, his red t-shirt worn inside out. He smokes and dreams, slightly hungover, the smell of alcohol and of the nameless girl in his bed still lingering on his skin. Black iron bars and railings criss-cross all around him, hemming him in, his sky and horizon blinded by a brick wall, the dark frame of his own window like a cage around his body. He smokes, stuffing all his dreams with his dead cigarettes into an empty beer bottle.

The phone rings, calling with the voice of the dead. He leaves in a panic, stumbling and tripping over himself, the anonymous girl forgotten in his warm bed, as he rushes to the birthday of a dead boy.


A whispering of spring leaves in a garden above a tomb. The sweet scent of flowers, clutched like a bunch of sobs in a mother’s hand, loving and wounded, stroking worriedly her son’s messy uncombed hair, smoothing his frumpy shirt collar. As always, he evades her, gently, retreating from her pain. Kisses, murmurs, avoided glances, silent resentment, meaningless words. The spring leaves whisper above the dead and the living, and the brightness of the empty beautiful blue sky sharpens even more their sorrow for the one who is gone.


The incredible, lovable mess of a boy’s den, tottering piles of books and records and tapes, broken and tired objects and cardboard pizza boxes jumbled together, empty beer bottles, overflowing ashtrays and unlit candles, notebooks and discarded clothes and a mute old guitar. A trash can which sometimes magically disappears in the tiny ruined kitchen. Books books books. A broken door with no handle and no lock, stuffed, angry and sad animals everywhere, a beheaded doll and a tall, life size dummy, with one missing hand and another one painfully twisted, charcoal-black painted eyes in a pasty face beneath his wide-brimmed Mexican hat, like a livid corpse in the corner. Like a dead clown.
The silent black-and-white voice of the dead musician, his mouth forever open in an eternal O on the picture, singing soundless words. The eternal O of his mouth when the young man found him swinging from a rope.

Broken bodies. Dead bodies. Mummified bodies. Mock life. A young man’s anger, grief and sorrow, nestling and lurking in every corner and nook of the flat, silent and frozen like the stuffed little predators and the dismembered doll and the dummy watching him.


The encroaching sooty fingers of New York, smearing the walls of the flat with greyish and black streaks, clawing away at the fading paint with dingy nails of weariness, the tired breath of the streets misting over the window panes and slowly turning them opaque.
The city, gnawing, numbing, tearing the young man’s heart to grimy streaks and strips.
The city, churning up and thundering and swooshing on their doorstep with the voice of the sea.
The city, humming its electric lullaby, soothing him as he falls asleep.
The city, curling up around him like a lover’s warm body.
The city, booming with the powerful voice of Orpheus from its netherworld of drunken alleys, letting escape the strains of a melody so poignant it makes him writhe in its beauty and sadness.
And as he turns back to seize it, he loses it forever, once again.
And he wakes up with a start, and reaches for his brother, but the melody is gone and he cries out in anguish and pain.
Then he remembers. He is dead. And he weeps, as the endless tears of rain and soot and ashes of the city slowly fall on him, burying him and his dreams into the night.

Jagged graffiti on the walls, zigzagging between red and blue blotches flowering like blood stains between the torn and ripped billboards, piled layer upon layer, as the young man and the girl dance their undecided dance of seduction, sweet and awkward, strange to each other, wanting to touch but not touching, wanting to yield but not yielding. Undecided.
Dessert first, says the girl.
The blare and glare of a funfair in the night, as the young man desperately tries to win her a giant panda.
Balloons sway in the breeze and hundreds of gaudy fake fishes and monkeys bob and swim along together, hanging from the artificial ceilings in the electric night.
Cabs dart away in yellow streaks into the wet, glistening suburb nights. The young man lingers on alone, kissing a cigarette and a regret. Undecided.



Blueish, cold morning light seeps through his dirty windowpane, full of doubt and uncertainty.
Please do not leave. He wants to stay, and he can’t. The air is black and blue and bruised, his soul is black and blue and bruised, and all misted over like the window.
The leaf with the little note has been hastily torn from his diary and he lays it softly close to her hand, as she sleeps, gold and white and soft in his faded room. I leave you my words of love. Please do not leave. I’m coming back.

Scribbling in the diary in the coffee-shop. Cold bars of steel and blue tables, suffused in the icy light, the invisible clatter and chatter of the customers, the clink of spoons on cups, the loud absence of the world around the young man as he descends into his own underworld and goes around, searching, listening, till the voice of the dead singer calls again to him, as it always does. Every day, he renews His flowing, endless dialogue with the dead one, trusting, resentful, angry, gentle, loving, aggressive, lost, bitter and pensive. He writes and writes in long, slightly slanted words, scratching off phrases, sticking in notes and slips of paper, his pen nervously flying, filling the pages. He ties them up into tight, neat rolls and stacks them away, as the days and months and years go by, so many of them, kept away in drawers of sorrow, in boxes of pain, like paper chrysalis enclosing his unfurling life, each one a milestone on his journey of grief and love and acceptance, each one making him change and grow, so slowly he doesn’t always notice, as a boy does not notice exactly when his voice starts to change and turn into that of a man.



The young man’s hands fly like wings on the naked back of his lover. His grave eyes and pensive face are gentle and full of love. A shadow caress, so soft, like the image of a bird, as he leaves an invisible but undelible tattoo on her skin. Softly, silently, the shadow bird flies away, opening the path for the young man’s soul, as he leaves his last fingerprint, fleeting and eternal. She wakes up and she smiles at him. She will live, and he will not.

I love you I love you, they whisper to each other.

The morning light streams inside the bedroom through the windowpane behind him. Tiny dust flecks dance in the sun beams, thousands of golden grains, like souls dancing for a short moment in the bright sunlight of life, before they fade away, caught in a sudden shift of the shadows.

The young woman stands laughing in the kitchen, everything is yellow and blue and warm, and French toast is sizzling in the pan. She feels warm and fuzzy and so happy, still vibrating from his embrace, remembering his sweet, hard body, and his whispered words of love. The other boy gabbles on his phone, inventing some silly excuse to some invisible girl and she laughs, again.
A moment in time.
A blue morning, and the fragile, yellow glow of happiness.

Night. A clink of beer bottles.
The young man tries to cook spaghetti for her, forcing them down into the pot, first with his bare hands, then with a giant serving-spoon which looks like a weapon.
On a shelf in the living room, a stuffed armadillo sits ironically grasping an empty beer can between its paws. But the girl is so very much alive, she just laughs at the tiny angry mummy glaring at her.
Dessert first, said the girl. The young man has baked her a huge chocolate cake. It sits there like a misshapen lump, nestled in a lampshade, a huge piece missing. His roommate was hungry he says. An oversized, shabby, disastrous and mangled cake, but the shy and clumsy words of love are written all over it.



A golden, mellow light, streaming into the disastrous flat, like liquid honey, tingeing the dingy walls when Tyler embraces Ally. Golden light running like fire on their hair and their skin as they make love, again and again, golden light glistening and racing on their limbs. They pause in their embrace, and gaze at each other. A long, deep, searching look. They look and look and look at each other. So many nights for the lovers, and so few. Unbearable grief lurks in the shadows, dogging the wondrous warm beams of light, like a filigree of pain seen through a hazy veil. But not now. Not at this moment. Not yet. There is still time.
Bathed in the golden light, they are alive, their bodies like living flames. Behind them, as they gently rock back and forth, the sad grimy window dissolves into a square sun. Light suffuses the faded room and spreads broad, bold strokes of sweet reddish gold. Late sunshine curls up in a ball in the corners and chases away the dark. And the dingy walls and shadows recede in the growing glow.

The trains of life rattle past, doors and windows clattering, wheels clunking, brakes whining and puffing, threading their weary ride through the city.
The young woman gazes out of the window. Blurred figures and faces streak past her, gently waving from the platforms of the night.
The infinite sweetness of love, the dark, numbing pain of loss and death.
A laughing mother, dancing with her little girl as they wait in the subway, many summers away.
A young man whispering I love you, the morning sun glinting on his messy hair, his blue eyes laughing, his body warm and hard and tender.
The young woman smiles at them.


Photo Credit:
Rainy Lower West Side
Katapostrophe.com

6 comments:

jessegirl said...

"But she sleeps, soft and white and golden like a dove, resting against his naked chest."
That's one of the images you've created, Rum, which I love and which reminds us of the Picasso poster, and now Ally is the dove, 'freeing' Tyler.

That's only one of so many beautiful images you've shared with us in your beautiful prose/poem, which is so poignant and lovely simultaneously. There are many, many parts which moved me. Here'a another:
"A golden, mellow light, streaming into the disastrous flat, like liquid honey, tingeing the dingy walls when Tyler embraces Ally. Golden light running like fire on their hair and their skin as they make love, again and again, golden light glistening and racing on their limbs."
You notice light and express its effect so well, Rum, and of course the lovers. I've been concentrating so much, in my articles, on the grief, but I love that you've brought us back to the lovers, whose inimacy is all the more bittersweet when we know what is coming, but which you've allowed us to enjoy again.
There are so many other wonderful parts but you've articulated them so well, all I could do now is quote them.
Brava!
Brava!

imloco2 said...

"The trains of life rattle past, doors and windows clattering, wheels clunking, brakes whining and puffing, threading their weary ride through the city.
The young woman gazes out of the window. Blurred figures and faces streak past her, gently waving from the platforms of the night.
The infinite sweetness of love, the dark, numbing pain of loss and death.
A laughing mother, dancing with her little girl as they wait in the subway, many summers away.
A young man whispering I love you, the morning sun glinting on his messy hair, his blue eyes laughing, his body warm and hard and tender.
The young woman smiles at them."


What a gorgeous and beautiful interpretation you've given us. It's all exquisite of course, but the last paragraph hit the proverbial nail on the head for me. I've been thinking about RM all weekend and I had the epiphany (better late than never I guess) that with all the talk of 911 being the 'end' of Remember Me that that wasn't the end of the movie at all. I've even seen people saying that they didn't need the last part there or it was just thrown in or whatever, but in reality...after Tyler's death is the real meaning of the movie. That people live on in memories, that no matter how much it hurts you keep on keeping on. Everyone handles it differently, but unless you take Michael's way out you have to learn to live with the pain life deals you. And you won't forget them but you can move on and be strong. So so much more to this movie than meets the eye. Thanks for sharing your feelings and thoughts with us.

olivia said...

Dear Rum,
Thank you for your beautiful interpretation of RM.
Your prose/poetry is filled with so many heart touching images that I am overwhelmed. These two selections are ones that I reread many times after rereading the whole piece. "

The young man’s hands fly like wings on the naked back of his lover. His grave eyes and pensive face are gentle and full of love. A shadow caress, so soft, like the image of a bird, as he leaves an invisible but undelible tattoo on her skin. Softly, silently, the shadow bird flies away, opening the path for the young man’s soul, as he leaves his last fingerprint, fleeting and eternal.

"...the loud absence of the world around the young man as he descends into his own underworld and goes around, searching, listening, till the voice of the dead singer calls again to him, as it always does. Every day, he renews His flowing, endless dialogue with the dead one, trusting, resentful, angry, gentle, loving, aggressive, lost, bitter and pensive. He writes and writes in long, slightly slanted words, scratching off phrases, sticking in notes and slips of paper, his pen nervously flying, filling the pages. He ties them up into tight, neat rolls and stacks them away, as the days and months and years go by, so many of them, kept away in drawers of sorrow, in boxes of pain, like paper chrysalis enclosing his unfurling life, each one a milestone on his journey of grief and love and acceptance, each one making him change and grow, so slowly he doesn’t always notice, as a boy does not notice exactly when his voice starts to change and turn into that of a man."

Bravo Rum. You have a beautiful gift for words. You truly see, feel, hear, and touch the essence of RM. Thank you again for sharing it with us. You have touched my heart. Namaste.
Olivia (TX.)

WhyIstheRumAlwaysGone said...

Thanks for your lovely comments everyone :))

jessegirl said...

Just read this again, Rum, and I'll say again that it is a beautiful poem but with the soul of the film embedded in it. I think many people have read this and loved it, but not commented because whatever one says in response to this lovely construct would seem to minimize it, and so they leave, not having spoken. IMHO.
But it is the kind of thing one wants to go back to. Thanks again.

WhyIstheRumAlwaysGone said...

Thanks jessegirl, you're always so supportive and kind! You know, I like the idea that the things we write for RM go out into the world, out of our control, and people we will never nkow will maybe read it and maybe like it too, even if we never know it. It's like planting a seed and know that maybe it will live and grow, even if we never see it ourselves. The Web is so wide and changes so fast, I guess this is how we have to see it. Big hugs again!!!

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