T I C K T O C K, T I C K T O C K
We really don’t need a clock
to tell us that even now
a W A S
Second by Second
It shouts out us. . .
M O C K S U S
and then Billy Collins,
Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001-2003
T H E P R E S E N T
Much has been said about being in the present.
It’s the place to be, according to the gurus,
like the latest club on the downtown scene,
but no one, it seems, is able to give you directions.
It doesn’t seem desirable or even possible
to wake up every morning and begin
leaping from one second into the next
until you fall exhausted back into bed.
Plush, there’d be no past
with so many scenes to savor and regret,
and no future, the place you will die
but not before flying around with a jet-pack.
The trouble with the present is
that it’s always in a state of vanishing.
Take the second it takes to end
this sentence with a period–already gone.
What about the moment that exists
between banging your thumb
with a hammer and realizing
you are in a whole lot of pain?
What about the one that occurs
after you hear the punch line
but before you get the joke?
Is the where the wise men want us to live
in that intervening tick, the time slot
that occurs after you have spent hours
searching downtown for that new club
and just before you die up and head back home?
(THE RAIN IN PORTUGAL, Random House, 2016)
. . .but it’s true, isn’t it. . .
almost impossible to
to even define it
while you’re literally catching a cold from the flipping pages
of the fast moving calendar
. . .makes you wonder not only about
T I M E
but actually what time is it:
This N O W
THIS P R E S E N T
. . .maybe that it’s simply present
time to know:
I don’t have to love forever
I don’t have to be kind forever
I don’t have to be compassionate forever
I don’t have to be caring forever
I don’t have to be forgiving forever
I don’t have to be accepting forever. . .
J U S T
l o v i n g
k i n d
c o m p a s s i o n a t e
c a r i n g
f o r g i v i n g
a c c e p t i n g
N O W
or as Mr Poet Laureate, Billy might suggest:
Is it enough. . .
for once not as a whole. . .
just grain by grain
which beats any
s e c o n d
on any clock or watch. . .
anyone can love for
for just a
M O M E N T