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please excuse my dear aunt sally

be am is are was were been has have had do does did can could shall should will would may might and must

today my professor was telling us about our inability to memorize images as opposed to everything else. it’s not remarkable, he said, when an actor knows every scene of hamlet by heart or when a guitarist can play a song soon after hearing it. but you couldn’t look at a painting or a photograph long enough to remember every detail: every figure or brush stroke or blade of grass. even if you made the image yourself, you still won’t remember.

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tis but thy name that is my enemy. thou art thyself, though not a montague. what’s montague? it is not hand, nor foot, nor arm, nor face, nor any other part belonging to a man. oh, be some other name! what’s in a name? that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. so romeo would, were he not romeo called, retain that dear perfection which he owes without that title. romeo, doff thy name, and for that name, which is no part of thee, take all myself.

first outside inside last

while he talked i was thinking about all the things i’ve memorized over the years, in grade school and plays and sunday school and songs sung in choir. some of it’s okay and some of it’s stupid, but it’s all there for good, like scratches on cheap plastic sunglasses. there are so many things i filter through these little etched phrases i’ve collected, these slices of memory where i can hear myself singing or reciting the lines or mouthing the formula as i took the test.

z y x w v u t s r q p o n m l k j i h g f e d c b a

vamos hablar del verbo
cocinar cocinar cocinar
significa: to cook
yo: cocino, tu: cocinas el: cocina, y usted tambien nosotros: cocinamos
ch ch ch ch ch
ellos: cocinan, y ustedes tambien

my very eager mother just served us nine pizzas

x equals negative b plus or minus the square root of b squared minus 4ac all over 2a (to the tune of “pop goes the weasel”)

what i can’t remember, though, is what my english teacher looked like as i recited lines from romeo and juliet, or my reading teacher’s handwriting as she wrote the be verbs on the board. i can’t remember my costume from the play or the shape of the logo sewn into my choir polo shirt.  the flowers on those impossibly horrible dresses my algebra teacher wore are pretty blurry.

this is a test. a what? a test. a what? a test. oh, a test.

genesis exodus leviticus numbers deuteronomy joshua judges ruth first and second samuel first and second kings first and second chronicles ezra nehemiah esth