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About Time

ISSUE:  Summer 1994

About time I will in 1998 say things inadequate
under a compulsion to face my enemy,
to look my destroyer in the eye—time
will evade whatever I say by the sly simple strategy of
never stopping. It was in 1992 that I wrote
these lines. In my kitchen I felt there was
a great ship plowing toward the horizon
and me swimming in its salty wake unrescued.
The big green refrigerator hummed
awfully loudly if you paused to notice
and the maple leaves out there past my balcony
shifted gently in the rainy breeze
like the beginnings of ideas about time that never
got anywhere. The actual present that day was
as it is now a whirldazz dazzwhirl of signals
not quite meshed, even in a peaceful kitchen.
It is

 the naked skinless edge of This Day
which is a dubious overproduced emergency
requiring hundreds of gearings of courage and caution
just to keep the favorite organism oneself operative
in the casually harmful flux. Today though
is oddly

 just the tense palpable portion of This Week
which is really only the most noisy and distracting
scout or tentacle or probe or exploratory mission
sent from

 These Last Two Months which are really
the future, the immediate future, the terrain of
an as yet unmanaged disorderly over-budget pilot version
of what you expected to have to struggle with
plus five odd bits of bad luck and one of good;
thus meanwhile

  the real present, the real present
is Two Months Ago where you reached
a clarity you could live in, some provisional understanding
of what your life had come to
and how you’d get ready to ride on the rest,
ready for your life you poor brave child
and never fall behind.


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