Wednesday, June 23

Rexroth, The Dragon and the Unicorn:

We think of time as serial
And atomic, the expression
By mechanical means of a
Philosophical notion,
Regular divisibility
With a least common divisor
Of motion by motion, so
Many ticks to a century.
Such a thing does not exist.
Actually, the concept
Of time arose from the weaving
Together of the great organic
Cycles of the universe ...

a tiny shop, in the afternoon
while the hungarians argue
politics i watch people passing
on the street, clean sunlight on the
narrow floor, the precise motion of
watchsmith's tools.

when i was a child
the small perfections of timekeeping
mechanisms were fascinating,
like the broken radios and minor appliances
i pried apart. repair was always
hopeless, as doomed a prospect as
the wild animals i tried to rescue
from countless deaths. my successes were
meager: a single speaker wire
soldered into place, one rabbit
who took to formula and eyedroppers.

it has been years since i wore a watch
out of fascination or habit
these past few weeks it has been almost
necessary, navigating the channels and chutes
of this vast system for moving
homo sapiens sapiens
over a complex curved surface
whose topography the species renders
ever more complicated in its efforts to level.

the lifeblood of cities and towns
is channeled by the necessary illusion
of absolute, interlocking time

mass transit, the daily mail
metered utilities and trucks full of produce
all determined by the measured flow of entropy
(unwinding springs, tiny thrumming crystals
some isotope's decay: we keep order by
observing order's own slow death)
through the vast lattice they continually nourish —
it's as if civilization were underwritten by timex,
or sustained by a billion little flames kindled
from the sacred fire of some naval observatory.

all this, and yet
the experience of time
remains organic
like the city for all of its
deceptive steel, concrete and brick

the content and duration of any moment
is no more constrained and regular
than that of a street corner
or an open door.

p1k3 / 2004 / 6 / 23
tags: topics/poem