The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon 

Two Poems by Marie Christelle Garcia                                                                                                  

There is something called the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon. Our brains highlight information it has


The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon


There is something called the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon. Our brains highlight information it has
Let’s say, today you learned about mangoes. Suddenly, you see
mangoes everywhere. In “How to Cook with Mangoes” cookbooks, mango-flavored lip balm, shoes  that look just as
There is the theory of synchronicity. Why we pick up our phones at the exact same
“Funny, I was just thinking about you!” like the universe had
orchestrated it.
There is a term called apophenia. A mental
sickness related to the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon. The
brain detects
patterns in a series of meaningless data and
reads too much into it.
It is why some people see faces
in the moon, Jesus in a raisin cookie, the future in dregs of coffee.
I am convinced my brain is apophatic.
I see a man on the train with lightbulb eyes
like yours
traces of
stubble like pencil tips I used to burn
my mouth on.
I believe synchronicity is a cheap fallacy. If it
were real I should have bumped into you
because I thought of you
today when I ate
ripe mangoes, when the soil
of my coffee grounds
evoked something you said about
the future.
Carl Jung said you should have manifested. But you



Brain Remodeling                                                                                                           

(Cut-up Poem From the New Yorker article, “Mentally Fit” by Patricia Marx, July 29, 2013 issue)


The three-pound, pinkish-gray
wrinkle guck in your skull,
a hundred billion neurons.
At least a hundred trillion
neural connections in your brain,
more than there are stars in the
Milky Way—



neural trails           whenever we experience
something new—learn the tango,
try a liverwurst canapé.




The combination to my junior-high-school locker
indelibly lodged in
my temporal lobe, right next to the Motown—

Could it be that elsewhere in

my head not everything is shipshape?


If for instance, you know
the answer to the question
“What city are we in?”
figure out what a banana and an
orange have in common,

have no trouble

recognizing a rhinoceros.

Remembering to remember is called
prospective memory.

The act of remembering

has three stages:

encoding, storage, retrieval. The second
we can’t control.

Pay attention selectively:
“to remain in the present, rather than
worry about the past          catastrophize
the future.”


thoughts exclusively to         breath,
single-minded breathing.

I am not good

at breathing.

Marie Christelle ‘Isel’ Garcia was born and raised in Manila, Philippines. Isel received her BFA in Creative Writing from Ateneo de Manila University and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Sarah Lawrence College. She has performed her nonfiction and flash fiction in various readings in New York City, such as the Lamprophonic Reading Series and LitWrap. She currently resides in Brooklyn, where she can be found drinking too much coffee and working on a collection of prose poetry about moving to a different country, displacement, and the concept of home.