The electricity tripped.
I woke to the flashing.
On my ‘phone 08:03.
The day well underway
and no new messages.
I waiver over the buttons
to recoup the extra hours.
Inside this digital turn-back machine,
once a bedside radio-clock,
05:17 is closer
to that stolen other time.
This poem reminds me of another I wrote when I was younger – ten years younger, which made me do a double take when I realised that I could have ten years behind me and have been writing for over a decade.
I posted “Knowledge,” the poem in mind, on Monday. You can read it here.
A friend asked me recently about negotiating the cross-over between topic and auto-biography. When I wrote the postlude to my first book of poetry, Shining in Brightness, I still aimed to disembody the writing I produced from me, the person who lived some of the source experiences. I have since come to a different understanding of creative process and its resulting work. I shared as much with my friend in a reply comment:
In the beginning I tried to pretend, “Oh, this is this is the through the conduit of the Narrative Voice” blah, blah. Now I care less. I just write my stuff. It’s all the laundry of my mind, clean, filthy and otherwise. People must deal, or not. Anyway, many other creatives shamelessly mine their own lives for material. Look at artist Egon Schiele, or even [writer] JM Coetzee, or any songwriter. So do celebs. They just make more money by selling their stories, together with photo-spreads, to the tabloids.
So, yes, today’s new poem derives from personal experience and specific observations. Sometimes I do write solely for myself, but if I make my work public, it’s meant for an audience. I hope you also find some stolen time in the turn-back machine of this poem.
On a lighter note, I must add that I am of the generation that loved the Back to the Future trilogy. I cannot think of time machines without a twinge of nostalgia for Doc, the DeLorean and Back to the Future III, which is my favourite because there was a smart, pretty lady in a crinoline with whom the Doc fell in love.
In the Ocean: a year of poetry
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness: Selected Poems, 1999 – 2012