With this new day, a day with a bonus hour, I think I’ll stay at the starting point a little longer, just a little behind it. I’ll stay at a short distance from the mystery, with all the questions,tests and “to do’s” out there just in front, on the other side of that invisible line that marks the business of the day, the business of my life. For now, I’ll be as the dawn is, at the pre-start, with the whole of everything suspended in full view, uncracked, joyous.
It was not clear exactly what had changed
between this night and the one before it.
Tracing his steps to the window he looked
outside before unlatching the curtains
marking the moon and rooftops illumined,
as he would check his face in the morning.
Scanning his room showed nothing had moved,
glasses half-lotus on the mantelpiece,
book waiting to be righted by the bed,
little piles of unfinished thoughts ignored.
His life a shaving thinner than before,
another wafer skin of self he’d shed.
Which part of this will I be
After I’m no longer here?
The air inside the porch way
I won’t be a bother there.
Even the dust that goes unnoticed
On the plug at the end of the hall.
Just somewhere around the edges
So I may meet you when you fall.
Upon the ceiling, beams like searchlights roamed,
Looking for me lying beneath their sweeping,
Comfort in thought of eyes on road homebound,
Between the voice of starry Mother’s calling.
Below the trees surprised by sudden wind,
Rear like unsettled horses in the night,
Sounds of bristling leaves he wished would take him,
Into their world beyond his human sight.
Reunion with the world and sister time,
Obeisance to her laws and government,
Unending place that fills our empty minds,
That would be nought save her replenishment.
Timeless and Time bound worlds at last converge,
Conjoined into all present scenes they merge.
Could it be as simple as the passing of time?
If we abandon the nebulous, are we not committed singularly to passing time? Watching?
Being watched? Watching things pass their time, our time passing too.
Like those cows in that field, sun on their backs, those trees in that field too,
Those birds in their branches. Those people over there on the other side, standing
In groups looking at things, looking at looking at things,
Looking at me as I look, while I too look at looking at things
We all here under the slow-circling sun, no inward implication cast between the incremental judders of its shadow hands,
Standing in a circle looking in at time in the centre,
Time as our commonality, tied together as we are tied to time, distant but present,
As we watch lives, ours and each other’s happen themselves to a close.
“I’ll just need to take down a few details, Sir” said the lady behind the desk, a little formally. She was neatly dressed in understated, carefully chosen pieces of clothing, fitting for her unclear age, soft tones of mauve and beige, unseeking of attention.
“Nothing too onerous, just one or two questions so that we can process your membership.”
“Sure, of course” he said, smiling “Whatever you need.”
“Thank you Sir. It’s just that…well…you’d be surprised how some people object to being asked the most straightforward of questions…..but without your name, where you live, these kind of things, how could we get a measure of you, Sir?”
“Yes, quite….I do understand completely (though he didn’t quite), please….fire a way!” he offered, a little perplexed by the lady’s lengthy preamble.
“Right then. Let’s start with your name, shall we Sir?…not too difficult for you?” she chuckled, a little too much to herself for his liking.
For some reason he found his throat tighten a little and he had an awful feeling he was about to have one of his spells.
“Ahem…yes of course, Charles…Charles Neville” he said, hesitatingly, feeling as if he was making it up.
The lady held her pen still, just at the top of the “C” she was about to write down, and looked up, quizzically. “Are you sure about that, Sir…It’s just that, well, you seem, a little…doubtful?”
His throat thickened further and his head began to feel foggy all of a sudden.
“Would you like me to repeat the question, Sir….No, better we come back to it later and go on to the next one shall we? Where do you live, Sir?”
“England” he blurted out, a little uncontrollably, sweating steadily now around his neckline. “Oh sorry, ha ha…what am I saying, of course England…ha ha….yes, London, here in London.”
For some reason, he couldn’t seem to remember his address properly. His mind was awash and the lady seemed all too aware, as if she’d seen this reaction before. She put her pen down on the form, laying it across diagonally as if to bring this painful process to a premature close.
“Sir, without these pieces of information I’m afraid we can’t proceed.”
She got up from her chair and walked around to face him, her small, shiny shoes a few inches from his.
“Who are you Sir, really?”
“Charles….I said Charles.”
“No, no. I don’t think you understand the question Sir”
“I don’t understand…I….”
“Where are you, Sir…..Where?” she pressed, her voice growing harder. “Where are we now, Sir?”
“Where?…Now?…What do you…?”
“You don’t know where you are, do you Sir.”
“You have come in here, if you don’t mind me saying Sir, a little too sure of things, haven’t you?”
“I just….I just wanted…..”
“Please Sir!” she interrupted. “I’m afraid you don’t know. You don’t know and that’s the end of it.”
The room begun to spin as his thoughts raced at the undeniable fact of it. He didn’t know. He grew fainter and fainter as the walls weighed down on him. He sat down on a chair that appeared behind him and closed his eyes tightly, hoping forever, senses all gone, clinging to the feeling of himself inside his chest, the only thing that was left.
How sad, pitiful, yes, worthy of pity…this phantom tale of my life that longs to outlive its pages, walk free, and so it looks for itself here, there, in every real thing, envious, hoping against hope to re-nature itself, be reforged a real thing too, out of time.