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  • By John Masella

Memories Now & Other Poetry

Memories Now

How does a memory age at present?

It sits where it’s made, gaining traction

Between us, morphing in swift reaction

To the whim of each passing second spent.

This feels like memory, leapt from future

Like songs played in reverse, unthought of, new,

But welcome as their colors slide in view,

Aging in reverse, bonding tense, time’s suture.

Tomorrow, when I recall, I’ll have known

Already that I stowed this shot away

In my records, safe from time’s shearing scuff.

By Saturday afternoon, I’ll have flown,

Homeward, only after sealing that day

Of which I may never have quite enough.

Age’s Pain

The pain of age does not diminish

With the passage of ample time -

The clock ticks on toward its finish,

And I stumble through life’s pantomime

Unwary of its insignificance,

A stray good act my paltry penance

For grave, unreconciled misdeeds.

Each wrinkle and pain and ache feeds

The unseen beast, equal parts dread

And regret. Kids walking to school

Stroll by, jokes never left unsaid,

Contests - who’s lame? Who’s cool?

I can’t warn them of the torment

That may come for them some day,

And rob them of the enjoyment

That sparks for now, but can’t stay.

John Masella is a poet from northern New Jersey. Influenced by the likes of Philip Larkin, John’s work leans on realism and accessible language to explore themes of impermanence, missed opportunity, reflection. You can check out his artwork and poetry on Instagram.



Aug 20, 2023

Both of these poems struck me quite personally, particularly "Age's Pain" as I consider my own young children. I imagine I'm not the only one struck in this way. Both poems do a marvelous job of taking an intensely personal experience and universalizing it without preaching or philosophizing; they present everyday thoughts that all of us have at some point thought.

I also enjoyed the skillful use of form (sonnet and quatrains). The language is natural and flows so that the constraints of the form are almost obscured, avoiding an overly musical, stilted sound that formal verse sometime conveys.


Jul 12, 2023

I like the battle between formalism and freedom in each of these poems, which seems to mirror some deeper internal battle, presumably between transience and permanence. At any rate, as of now, I am following John on Instagram.

Jul 12, 2023
Replying to

Thanks so much. You identified the battle keenly. I'll be posting some more work on Instagram soon, as I've been inspired recently by a lot of important moments of change in my life - thanks for the follow.


Jul 12, 2023

I like both poems, especially 'Memories Now' and the manner in which it explores themes of transience and memory, and the poet's dilemma of trying faithfully to hold some of those fleeting moments that are always slipping away from us, even as we live them and know how significant and precious they are.

Jul 12, 2023
Replying to

Thank you as always, my friend. Perfect summation of what I'm exploring. It is equal parts jarring and wondrous when present moments feel like memories - a cocktail of déjà vu and surreality. At any rate, to recognize in a moment that it will become a prized and rich memory is a uniquely human experience and one that tends to self-fulfill - whether it creates a sense of deep longing, gratitude, or both as our present marches on. Cheers!

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