If I could turn back time…

Isn’t it funny how time works? There are days that move slowly, and years that fly by quickly. Minutes that take forever, and days you only wish could do just that.

It is hard to fathom that time, itself, is a man-made concept. We created the clock, the calendar, the sun-dial. However, it’s the sun and the moon that create day and night, though we technically are the ones who named them such. The tides rise and fall with the moon, and the seasons change with the distance the sun is from the earth.

I tend to think about a world where time was not developed – where we can sleep when our bodies tell us to sleep (not our alarm clocks), and we can permit ourselves the proper amount of time our bodies and minds feel to task the day, instead of the clock. There are days in this world where I feel rushed, and days where I feel sluggish when I should be picking up my own pace.

And then, there’s that whole concept of wishing we could reverse time. When we lose a loved one. When we say the wrong thing to someone important to us. When we make a grave error in our work or assignments. Or when we just want time to stop – to stand still altogether.

Dates on calendars, alarms set, birthdays and anniversaries marked; time is important to us.

We put a lot of power into the concept of time. And yet, we beg for it to bend to our whims.

Currently, I am wishing time would hurry up. It’s nearly 4 o’clock, and this day has been sluggishly productive. And at the same time, knowing our community has suffered the loss of one of our most wonderful women, I keep stopping during this sluggish day to ask Father Time to go back to yesterday in hopes this beautiful woman can correct her driving mistake and stay alive.

Time doesn’t work like that.

So, I have to sit here twiddling my thumbs at work while my friend’s body slowly decomposes in a cooler somewhere in Minnesota while they figure out what and how things went wrong for her. Her time was up. I like to think every minute she spent here, she steeped her minutes and hours and moments with love and kindness and respect for time. She knew quite well that we are all working against the clock. That every moment counts. That within the minutes or hours that drag, those moments that move so quickly are the ones worth holding on to.

I’ve gotten caught crying twice today. Both times I lied, saying I’d just yawned from being tired. My face is a terrible liar when it comes to crying. My cheeks and nose go red, my eyes get puffy and glazed, my lips puff out, and I can’t catch a breath worth a damn. My hands shake, my nose runs, and because of the ample amount of warm salt water leaking from my eyes, my glasses get foggy.

Time is the only thing that will help these tears to dry out. As the moments in my mind with my friend wash over me like waves on a rough sea (or perhaps tears down my cheeks), I am begging for more time, more moments, more opportunities to see her smile, to hear her laugh, to listen to her wisdom.

But that’s not how it works.

All any of us will have, including her husband, her daughter, her son, her grandchildren, are those lapses of neurons who evoke images of her face, wispy recollections of her voice, the way she always touched your shoulder to greet you even if you were a stranger. Shadows of time catalogued in with our current days and schedules and moments.

Time is always of the essence. Beat the clock. A month of Sundays. Killing time. Once in a blue moon. Working against the clock. Doing time. Watching the clock. Crunch time. Time flies. Just in the nick of time. Time is money. For the time being.

We have so many idioms for time. But not a single one will bring you back, Steph.

I’m sorry your time was up.

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“Texts I never sent”

“I wish I could fix you so you’d be a better friend”

“I’m afraid to love you”

“I really wonder if you’d even talk to me if you weren’t desperate for someone to talk to in this town”

“Why don’t you love you like I love you? Are you that broken to see how beautiful you are?”

“I don’t want to talk to you anymore, but I feel like I have to because we were in the band together”

“I love watching you get fat. Karma’s a bitch, ain’t it? :)”

“I’m never letting go of you. Even if I wanted to.”

“I didn’t even intend to respond to your text, but I’m being polite.”

“I feel entirely incapable of dealing with your shit.”

“He’s literally losing his mind and no one will stop him.”

“What on this earth compels you to act like such a tool? Especially when your daughter is on the line.”

“I’m not the least bit sorry for you. You deserve everything that has happened to you. I hope your sons forget you.”

 

Four Poems on April 4

1. St. Pete’s Dragon

Five hundred feet from the bus stop

when no one was around

we would pretend we were dragons.

Five hundred miles from where I was then

your fiery breath still haunts me,

and your scorch marks still burn my thighs.

 

2. Full Heart

When the moon and I talk about you

The sky lights up so brightly that

the wolves in my chest howl your name.

They keep watch over my heart

protect me like a newborn pup

knowing all too well that someday

My heart will be wild again

when it’s ready.

 

3. Mass Media

Lines blur between science

and fiction. The news

I read pulls our arms

apart when we should be pulling

together. Our experiences

are louder, larger

than any size printed font.

 

4. Geriatric Avoidance

Your hands shake like hers

Your mind breaks like hers

Your wrinkles swim across your face

like hers

I will miss you as much as I miss

her.

National Poetry Month

Okay, so April is National Poetry Month in the US (and other countries, perhaps?), so many writers are trying to write a new poem every day for the month of April.

Holy shit. That’s… huge.

I just finished reading “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert, and I feel like maybe I could take on the challenge. Or at least write every day and perhaps something good will come out of those 30 days. Here’s hoping.

That being said, I’ll be writing three poems today (holy fuck what am I doing?!) to catch up.

 

 

Thoughts and Prayers

When I hear,

“Our thoughts and prayers are with you”

it reminds me of how alone I am

we are

with your thoughts and prayers

drifting above in the air

like pollutants and biochemical babble.

 

Your “thoughts and prayers”

are toxic, lethal silence at a time

when your voice should be shaking with mine

hands shaking like mine

fists clenched, raised high in the air like mine

anger spewing past your lips like mine

but all we get are your thoughts and prayers.

 

And in those thoughts and prayers are, what?

Hope for change? Prayers for peace?

Or quiet servitude to a parsimonious monster?

Self-indulgence in the name of the Father

and our forgotten sons

and the Holy Dollar.

Your thoughts and prayers move no mountains.

Even God sees your silent subterfuge.

 

In the midst of thoughts and prayers,

anger, hatred, and unfairness ring

louder than your convictions.

God is a woman

When you died, your breath was

heavy for the longest time

but when we started talking

about God

and her big arms and beautiful hair,

you were calm.

And we knew, between

the echoes of the empty walls

and the solitude of that winter night,

God is a woman.

She came to you, picked you up

in her big arms and beautiful hair

and carried you home with her.