The clock tells me

Hi there, I’m sharing a poem I wrote for an in-class exercise with Stephen Hall. I’ve been thinking about lucid dreaming a lot lately, which definitely inspired this piece. As a prompt, we borrowed the first line, “the bedside clock is right once,” from a poem entitled Nighttown by David Corcoran, former editor of the Science Times. 

The clock tells me

The bedside clock is right for once.
Someone once told me,
“You can’t read a clock in a dream.”
The numbers will appear warped,
lines curved and jagged,
chopped up and squirming.
Discernible, at first—
but they disintegrate the moment you try to focus.

Does the clock read now or then?
I can’t seem to place my fingers.
“Now” is technical,
but most days I live in a “then,”
sticky resin around my consciousness.

The bedside clock is right for once,
which means I must be lucid.
Clear, amber syrup
not yet solidified into resin.
My self, most days, appears warped.
Proprioception curved and jagged,
chopped up and squirming.

The bedside clock tells me to breathe,
instructs me to listen to the silence beneath the ticking, the padding of cat feet, the muffled sounds of city screaming into sky.

The bedside clock reminds me that time,
it is only the workings of cognition.

I am sure of two things:
1) The technical now.
2) My body:
discernible at first,
but it disintegrates the moment I try to focus.

Image: Flickr / garycycles

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