Thursday, February 16, 2017


331. TIME
'The sea ice shrinks if
you want it to shrink.'
I wrote that way back
in about 1970, and, only
now and unwittingly, it
is perfect for today's
world  -  or at least the
world presented, of
melting polar ice-caps
and disappearing seals
and penguins. It's just
funny how things fall
into place; as if, once
you've got the message,
no matter the age, it's
right forever. In the same
vein, to hear something
like 'good bread gets
hard fast,' that too has to
then make some sense.
One of the problems
I had, or at least one
of the things I was
always grappling with,
was time. Or, I guess,
'Time.' I found, after
long consideration,
that 'Time' was nothing
but 'Thought.' Or the
presence of 'Thought.'
Unless you are thinking
about it, it doesn't exist;
which is why it sometimes
seems to go, in a very
elastic fashion, either
faster or more slowly
as you near, or get
apprehensive about,
an event  -  upcoming
or whatever  -  that
you are continually
dwelling upon or
thinking of.
or with some form
of joyous expectation.
Either way, the same
thing occurs. Dreary
time goes really slow.
Happy time goes fast.
I used to follow that
logic  -  in my version
of 'logically'  -  right to
Reality itself. I often felt
my life to be a mental
game, an odd bulletin
board of assumed and
accepted pictures. But,
if I wasn't thinking
about it, did it too
actually continue
to 'exist?'
One of the most
dreary places I'd
ever go, oddly
enough was on
White Street
and named White's
Bread Market. It
presented itself
always in gloom.
It should not have
been that way,
but it was, and
the 1970's did
then not help.
The '70's themselves
should probably
have been outlawed.
By the end of that
decade, the whole
world was sick.
Everything seemed
to have just run out
of whatever life-force
it took to bring
vitality to imagined
reality.  By the time
of 1978, most things
were a nasty broth of
opaque, poorly-heated
soup; things unknown
floating, all sorts of
overcooked 'vegetable
matter' making up the
texture and the flavor.
Horrible things were
underway, or just
getting started  -
AIDS, bad music,
Iranian hostages,
Carter, the Panama
Canal and all the
self-righteous fights
over 'giving' it away.
That sort of 'time'
should have dragged
everyone to death  -
and it most probably
did. Except maybe
for the Bee Gees and
Disco and Tony Manero.
A bullet to the
brain would have
been helpful to
shut off that mind-bender
of slow time running
down. At White's
Bread, sometimes,
things were so bad
that my very being
felt as if all the
world had stopped,
or been stopped,
for inspection.
The expectation
was there that
you should 'take'
this span of open
space (like a half
moon, with only
its bottom showing
-  too odd for me
not to think of
as something else,
secretly eclipsed
or showing like
that only for my
eyes. More on
that in a minute),
and find a way to
walk into it, and then
make something new.
As Rilke had put it,
I think in the 'Duino
Elegies'  -  'You must
change your life.'
Right near there,
White Street, was
Franklin Street, and
other places of an older
time too; workshops,
a small-manufacture
district from maybe
80 or a 100 years
previous : it had that
size and feel. The
scale was different,
human sized, things
you could touch and
get near, spaces
you could imagine.
All of it was out-of-time,
past reckoning and  -
with no one waiting
for it, apprehending it,
it (as my reasoning
went)  -  it existed in
the slowest plane of
'Time' imaginable.
Which was all good.
The misery of White's
Bread, on the other
hand, was in that
palpable sense of
Time there running
a bit faster, but
with no one really
wanting it, staring
down at their roll
and coffee, just
existing through it,
that Time, as they
awaited something
else. It wasn't great
at all, and it
certainly wasn't
'fast' time. That
structure made it
what it was  -
dim-witted, the
people caught
within it just
seemed dazed
and confused,
wandering while
they milled about.
Slow-motion wind-up
toys, the mainsprings
of which were no
longer running at
optimum tension.
That was Time,
talking its way
through, and
appearing  -  it
was different
Around the corner
some, on Franklin
Street, was a 'Women's
Art Cooperative,'
as if they actually
'needed' that
designation. It
was a group-owned
galley, by and of
women 'artists' who
or which showed
only its members'
work. Sensitive,
often well-done,
paintings. Lots of
naked female
portraiture, the
sorts of items
portrayed  -
object and scene  -
that made a viewer,
immediately, realize
the anguish that
was behind this
collaborative effort.
Time was always
slow here too, painful.
Not right, somehow,
for those who did
not share in that
anguish. Hard to
explain, but
off-putting. They'd
have opening
night receptions,
when all of a
sudden everyone
was happy and
time changed its
flow. It never
made sense  -
where'd all that
angst go, why
did these
ladies wake up
to happiness for
those three or four
opening-night hours?
It proved my point,
time and again.
It was all a
complete subjectivity
proving Time's
willing elasticity  -
even if their building
was massively part
of another time and
place. Three floors
of apartment-living
upstairs too. Those
who lived there,
I never knew what
time-box they
inhabited. It became
like the dance of
taxis out on the street
-  all going, towards
something, all at
different, jagged
speeds and darting
in varied directions,
all. I had never seen
a roomful of people,
kindred people
anyway, the
of the gallery, come
alive together as
one in that manner.
Right then and there,
time itself had
flipped from slow
to fast. Amazing.
And, lastly, getting 
back to that post-full
moon that was just 
bottom half only:
Seeing the moon, 
in most any of its 
lunar phases or
stages, in NYC  - 
high up atop 
things, or far 
off and down 
any one of the 
viewpoints, it 
was always odd. 
Off-pointing too. 
As if there should 
not BE any 
referential sky-item 
connecting with 
the greater cosmos. 
It just didn't belong 
there, and was about 
Time, and intrusive. 
The Moon is nothing 
if not Time; whatever 
else it may be. I used 
to squint and imagine 
the solar placement 
of everything  -  where 
the Sun must be, far
off in that blackness, 
so that its light illumines 
whatever part of the 
moon it did, and where 
it all was in relation to 
Earth, and our 
world and being. 
I could mostly get it, 
and accept it  -  
figuring some 
long-shot vision 
of the solar system 
and how those three 
moving objects, Earth, 
Moon, and Sun, always 
in a dance around each
 other, while falling 
through space too  
-  stuck. But, this one 
was just too much. I 
was unable to 
comprehend this 
bottom-half only 
illumination of the 
Moon. It was like 
that in 1967, and 
it was like that again, 
just last night, as I 
sat here writing and 
that flagrant Moon 
was outside my 
window in the 
dark night sky. 
Time, gentlemen, 
time!  - as T. S. 
Eliot had it put.

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