Around the Clock, #216

A feat, each time we can last
past the topmost strike, awake
into the next day before
this day has then surrendered
to the crushing history
of mothers putting us down
in our cribs, turning off lights
and telling us to sleep, sleep,
the crushing weight of eyelids.

If we are still awake here,
there must be a good reason,
something that needs to be read
or written before morning,
some pain in our side, longing,
a dream we are afraid of.
I almost cry at the mass
of squinting eyelids and twitch
of muscles that beg for sleep.

Surrender. There’s no reason
to be awake here. Lay down
your head and dream. On this night
the tale is of a horse
who rides down the tongue like slide
of a waterfall, over
the edge and into a lake
of corn rows below, landing
on his feet and then eating.

Deep in rem sleep, images
that have abandoned fiction
in honor of post modern
ideals. A car shimmies
along a string of noodles
and runs out of gas, only
to find itself on the tracks,
but floating inside, cat fish
who tell the driver to swim.

The eyes are a snakes cold slits
and the muscles of the neck
are angry old men who creak
when they move. The old geezer
lifts himself up to figure
how long he has left to sleep,
to calculate and to pray
and wish he had willpower
enough to wake and create.

The strategy does not work.
No collection of reverence
and blankets can keep at bay
the voices and to-do lists,
sun sneaking through the shutters
and the sneaking suspicion
that he would be better off
getting up and running. Now,
he will just lie here. Awake.

Whatever strategy rose
up from the ashes finally
worked, though I have forgotten
why, how or when. I’m sleeping,
though not one with my dreaming.
It’s a frigid second nap
below the level of thought
and creation, one I know
will prove a bitch to wake from.

I should be up. I should be
up. I should be up. I want
to sleep. I want to sleep. I
want to sleep. What time do I
absolutely need to wake
to get up to not be late.
too late for the job. Shower,
find some clean clothes, and a tie.
Remember, do I need gas?

Holy holy. I’m so late.
I had to extract myself
from this muscle bending dream
that rose up from the half-death
to tug me back down. Shower.
No, food. No just get clothes on.
Shoot. I do need gas. Cell phone.
Call to make excuses. Why
I am, again, a bit late.

The customers are here now,
and watching and listening.
But I am not yet caught up
with the missteps of the day.
What can I say? Get a can
of soda, cup of coffee,
Red Bull and some dark chocolate.
But get here, and now. Allow
the day to wash over you.

Like a flash bulb that burns out
the first time we point and shoot,
push the button, the curtains
you’d bury your head under
that could catch fire. It’s ten,
and the next thing you can tell
it’s eleven. The hour
doesn’t exist on radar
and can’t be found by Mapquest.

Time like a rocket launching
any minute, on the clock
waiting for the final go.
Count down the minutes, seconds
until lunch is upon us
and we can break for the day.
What a life, fight for hours
to steal a few moments,
marriage to steal a kiss.

Awful pizza, two slices,
too expensive, but quick, hot
and without a thought, consumed
quickly to leave time for work
more pleasing, satisfying,
a chance to write a poem
or tweak the pot, check mail.
All too quick the clock turns
past the half-hour and down.

Back to the grind, to the down
swing of the day, the workday
and the endless measuring
of Sumerian watches.
What goes down comes back around,
turns itself on its axis
and once an hour resets
itself. The hands are flesh made
and therefore inaccurate.

A whole hour, whole hour
to answer a question, solve
a problem that was not a
problem, to put back in place
the structure and measurements
that a lack of wisdom kicked
off into the corner. Try
against hope to get someone
to take measure of their life.

The day can wander on, long,
slow, susceptible to fits
of melancholy. I’m stuck
now under the light buzzing
above me of the office.
Outside the sun is blazing
and making shadows linger
behind the people who leave,
whom I want to chase after.

Time to tie up those loose ends
before the clock allows me
to bugger off at my pace
from this work-a-day. Even
though there is much more to live
I know what I will do when
I get home. First sit, then talk
about the day, process it
with honey, then take a nap.

Out to the car and unlock
the gas and the tunes. Turn up
the AC and the Springsteen
to rock out at all the lights
out of town, curse and argue
with my fellow drivers cause
I can, cause I am no more
concerned for your conundrums
and shortcomings. I can curse.

Dinner, flip on the TV,
check mail and email,
I know I should be doing
a line or a recording,
but I don’t have energy.
I know I should be going
for a run, raising the heart
rate, but I have no gumption.

Watch the trees turn from light green
to a forest green to tips
of yellow and then to black.
The glass between you and there,
the world outside becoming
a mirror, which you sit here
watching, waiting for your love,
your reason for coming home
to come home, to complete you.

If you can find the latest
viral video or fun
thing this guy at work found for you,
you can share it with your spouse
and pretend you spent the day
together at the cost of
spending the night together,
put yourself down on the couch,
bury your head in your hands.

You know your day, and her day,
and the days of all the folks
you both work with, the trials
and tribulations the job,
any job puts on people.
Hopefully yours has meaning.
There is still work to be done,
so we sit, then we forget
that each other does exist.

You should be sleeping. You know
you have to get up early
tomorrow if you have hope
of getting to work on time.
Why are you watching this show
you know you don’t like? Turn it
off, flip the switch, don’t sit there
mindless and stupid. The bed
and the blankets are calling.

Prop yourself on your elbow,
on a pillow, grab a book
and attempt to read. By now,
your eyelids are heavy, you
are getting sleepy. Let go
of thoughts and reasons. Let go
of the trials of the day.
Listen to your lover say
words that end the day. Kiss me.



A day is not done, until it's filled with words.

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