Concerto For Time Bandits

by Glenn Buttkus
“Old Time–his factory is a secret place, his work
is noiseless, & his hands are mute.”–Charles Dickens.


TIME: A non-spatial continuum in which events occur in
apparently irreversible succession from the past through
the present to the future.
The White Rabbit dashes about the Queen’s maze
                             staring at his large pocket watch:
                  I’m late, I’m late
                  for a very important date–
but like a gerbil spinning on his exercise wheel,
                             he went nowhere fast,           in a conflict
                             with inertia, caught forever
                             within the thorny parameters of the Now;
a prisoner,
a victim,                painfully aware that victory does not
                             always go to the swift–
just ask Tom Tortoise.
Each of us squats comfortably
                              on our very own section of this planet,
                                                 trying valiantly to understand
                                                 hemispheres,
                                                 longitude,
                                                 latitude, & all those damned
Time Zones.          I reside in the Northwest, my wife is visiting
family in Texas, & as I write this she is two hours ahead of me,
                              while my oldest daughter in Maryland exists
three hours ahead–& so it goes traveling East
                              ripping through zone after zone
traveling in an unbroken circle
                              until you bump into the butt of your own shadow,
arriving right back where you started; while some bush pilot
                              in Alaska struggles an hour behind me.
            When I traveled to Australia from California,
            dipping deep into the upside down reality of the Southern
            Hemisphere, speeding 8000 miles in 18 hours, I arrived
in Sydney the day before I left, & hey, when I returned, I arrived
            in LA 2 hours before I departed.
Sometimes I find it to be fun to stop by a Clock Shop,
& stand in the actual moment
completely surrounded by thousands
of clicking, clanking, squeaking, whirring & twitching
springs & wheels housed in hundreds of time pieces–
                each a microcosm unto itself, a mechanical
miniature universe, inhabited by
                a vast population of dust mites, & while
our imagination has been focused so microscopically,
                 we take the opportunity to peer even further
                 within to a sub-atomic world
                 where a grain of sand
would appear to loom as large as Ayers Rock,
                 where Time stands still–
and that doesn’t even scratch the surface
                 of attempting to master or understand
                            Time,
even while dropping into a whirlpool or worm hole,
                  folding back the edges of dimensional reality,
                  rocketing unimaginable distances
                                  while violating the laws of physics,
without even considering the metaphysical postulates
that beyond the Veil, Time does not,
                                           can not exist–
where Past, Present, & Future cohabit a linear continuum,
where
       the mysteries
                       of Life all
                                  become beautiful
                                                          pods of clarity.
So, what the hell time is it, you ask?
Well, you are standing in the pivotal center of it,
& it is later than you think,
& earlier than you would like it to be.
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