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A Feast of Malediction: Poetic and Personalized Analysis of Pamilerin Jacob’s “Memory for Dinner.

GUEST POST

MEMORY FOR DINNER
By Pamilerin Jacob

again, tonight i feast on yesteryears 
place the heart in a blender,  grind.

bind  my feet with a nightmare, pulled  out
of a lover’s mouth:
we used to chew on each other’s tongues, like cookies.
                      kisses were daily delicacies, homemade.
how does one pay homage, to ache
with a mouth full of dross?

tonight,      I withdraw from the altar of healing
for you.      I have earned the license to swallow
the nails, you drove into my head.      tonight

I feast on yesteryears, & the softest parts are filled
with your voice:  your tongue swirling
behind my ears,  devouring,  deflowering
conscience  

& the hardest parts of our story, always come
wearing water. wetting withered 
portions of my crooked tongue: your name
is hot water in my mouth…

a mirror is how you put 
a face to a disease. how you bite the lip
of a god in retrospect / eat glass, to train the belly
to withstand famine

tonight, before the mirror
I chew my tongue  alone
sour lump of memory
floating in my mouth
a feast of maledictions….

On Wednesday, the 17th of June, I published a review on this poem “Memory for Dinner”. This was after two weeks of attempting to access the mind and mood of the writer. The subject matter and imageries were too personal and removed from the reach of anyone who hasn’t been through what the poet Pamilerin Jacob must have been through. After successfully cracking through the poem, I was still convinced that the emotion is best understood when the shattering experience behind it is witnessed first hand. Hence my introduction in the first review that “Whoever must have caused the poet to write this poem must have really hurt him/ her deeply. Whatever experience that birthed this piece must have been a skin deep experience too close to the heart”.

About three weeks later, I went through this “skin deep experience too close to the heart”. To understand Jacob’s “Memory For Dinner”, I ate Memories For Lunch on the 6th of July 2020. After which, I was able to personalize the message of the poem to myself, hence joining those going through heartbreaks and breakups in the “feast of maledictions”.

Happy reading to all who are passing through relationship and situationship breakups and breakdowns. Join us in this must eat feast of invective.

Below are both analysis; the poetic and the personalized.

1. The Poetic Analysis

Whoever must have caused the poet to write this poem must have really hurt him/ her deeply. Whatever experience that birthed this piece must have been a skin deep experience too close to the heart. For the poet personae to relief his/ her love experience as a nightmare, it means the lover must have turned a great relationship dreams to a horrible reality, a scary memory. For the poet to deploy the image of the heart been put in a blender;  ” again, tonight i feast on yesteryears,place the heart in a blender,  grind”it depicts how heartless the ex-lover crushed his/her heart.

In “Memory for Dinner” we get familiarized with how bad memories could be eaten as dinner.

Memories are testimonies that yesterday happened. Sometimes when we are faced with challenges, we return to great memories and feed on good times from yesterday to get strength to face the challenges of today and tomorrow. But what happens when all the memory you have is one that you rather not remember?  Memories  you are trying to heal from? From stanza  three, we can infer that the poet personae has tried overtime to wipe off the memory of the lover and the terrible nails of betrayals with which it is nailed in his/her heart and head. However he can’t, because he is bound to feast from yesteryears. By “eating this dinner from yesteryears” he is bound to obstruct that healing process:

“…tonight,      I withdraw from the altar of healing
for you.      I have earned the license to swallow
the nails, you drove into my head.      tonight.”

Reading these lines:

we used to chew on each other’s tongues, like cookies.
                      kisses were daily delicacies, homemade

one is convinced that the poet personae who was blissfully in love has been woefully battered with betrayed. The poet compares his/her love experience to a dinner—one that tasted like cookies and homemade delicacies while eaten, but has become a bad dinner when recurgitated. We can deduce that the poet is having a bad dinner from the following reasons:

  • Thee dinner is forced (stanza 2)
  • It tastes like garbage or chaff (stanza 2)
    *It is painful to swallow as it passes  through the throat like nails (stanza 3)
  • It tastes like hot water (stanza 5)
  • It disrupts healing       (stanza 3)
    *  it is likened to eating a disease (stanza 6)
  • It feels like chewing glass (stanza 6)
  • It is likened  to a famine (stanza 6)
  • It is eaten alone (stanza 7)
  • It tastes sour      (stanza 7)
  • It leaves the mouth blistered with curses (stanza 7)

In his choice of words, Pamilerin Jacob uses  strong metaphoric words to express the sad theme of the poem. Dysphemisms  such a tonight, nightmare, ache, dross, swallow, nails, ache, devour, deflower, hardest, withered, crooked, hot, disease, famine, sour, lump and malediction are used to disparage and heap invective on the poet personae’s ex-lover. The poet Pamilerin Jacob uses deliberate diction to drive home the message of betrayal which is at the heart of the story.

The tone of the poem is that of regret. The poet personae is passing through extreme suffering, grief and pain. He expresses his griefs using strongly worded invectives.
His mood is lonely, sour and bitter. We can feel his aloneness in this grief. At the end of the poem a reader is bound to share in the poet’s devastation and nightmarish experience.

Pamilerin Jacob through the manipulative use of language, haunting imageries and dyphemism gives us a ticket to feast on memories and invites us to this feast of malediction with him if we have ever been hurt or betrayed in love.

2.The Personalized Analysis

So today, I ate memory for lunch and now I know what Pamilerin Jacob  means when he wrote to tell his ex that he had withdrawn from the altar of healing for her.

In order to withstand my looming famine for love ; a famine that is threatening protraction, I have began to “eat glass, to train the belly”.

 To my estranged sweetheart, I am sad to inform you that “I have earned the license to swallow
the nails, you drove into my head.”

But I am afraid, this meal is too peppery, too bland, too drudgery and quite tortuous to eat. I pray I do not get to the part of placing my heart in a blender and grinding it whenever I feed on our memory. To the point where invective, brawls and deflowering comments will attend every remembrance of you.

I am an honoured guest on this table, but the menu is not appetizing, however I must dig in.

Do I have a choice?

If you have been ever hurt in love, you would understand why I have no choice than to be a guest in this “feast of maledictions”. My lips are already splitted, splintered and blistered in blood and dross. Tueh! Phew! What a meal!

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