October 10, 2008 at 9:32 pm | Posted in writing | 20 Comments
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The last chord subsides and the band begins to pack their instruments away. He shuffles across the empty dance floor into his office and slumps into his chair. Time is not linear, it begins again in each new moment. Grand cycles across eons mere extensions of rhythms as simple as the one two of the human heart. He pours the last of the whiskey into a glass and remembers. Noone thinks in sentences dry and crackly like dead twigs she had said, thought is fluid and grows like seasons like orchestras made of light. He gets up and looks out the grimy window. Won’t be long now. No gunfire tonight, no rumblings of tanks in the distance. Just the red glow of the front line on the horizon which silhouettes a single plane approaching. Time is not linear she had said and kissed him goodbye each moment eternal. The ground was frozen solid and he had to pay the old gravedigger double. He drained the last of the whiskey and the universe in an atom shattered in a chain reaction and the glass in the window cracked and time stopped.


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  1. Wow!!!!! This one really caught my heart. A brilliant insight into a tragic farewell.
    Thanks Brad.

  2. “Noone thinks in sentences dry and crackly like dead twigs she had said, thought is fluid and grows like seasons like orchestras made of light.”

    what a wonderful sentence, it keeps growing on me.

    i love how you play with time in this one, and our concepts and assumptions not only of time but of words and what both should and shouldn’t do (be allowed to do)
    Thanks Gwendolyn. Time is not linear but language is so the use of echoes and twisting tenses are frequent devices.

  3. I wished I could write like this or even understand it a bit more. Time is not linear this might be true maybe it just the measurement of movement.
    I wish I could understand it more too, so don’t worry about it Nick.

  4. i have to sit in silence for a while after reading it, a tone that really does make time shift
    and stop, balanced potentials illustrated in a space and then time just ends before i realize how its continuum is an extension of my thought, an illuminating experience, rare and fine and memorable
    Thankyou Tipota. Your comments are magic like your art.

  5. This has absolutely everything.
    It is so complete and perfect, that it makes me wonder whether you worry that you will never be able to write something that will be as good as the last. (no, no question mark, just a thought, that’s all)
    Thanks Mary. You know I work best under pressure, haha.

  6. I loved this!
    Thankyou, Sherifa.

  7. time is not linear, therefore history repeats itself?

    I like the narrative and I second artpredator on that sentence.
    Thanks Annamari.

  8. moving me in and out of the nonlinear moments and taking me to where time stopped. incredible post. i really enjoyed this immensely,
    I’m very glad you did, Mrs Ott.

  9. This really resonates in me. And your language and imagery feels familiar and ‘at home’ to me. I’m engaged.
    Yes, I’ve noticed in your work, Wayne, there is a lot of confluences in our thinking which is very cool.

  10. 🙂 Gorgeous piece. I love your pictorial nib.
    Thank you dear.
    Thankyou, Mae. That is a very lovely verb.

  11. I like the images in your words, the pictures that pass my eye as I read your words… She wasnt lying, Time isnt linear, I believe so too. Each moment begins to end where another begins cyclically, forever. In its undulating motion it crosses a path from before or from the farthest future yet it stays in the NOW. In our emperical-ness we like to “get it” with that measure, 1st, 2nd… nth minute, hour, day…dont think time really cares…well, your words made me think, me thinks :).
    Cool, thankyou, that is great comment.

  12. Whoah, a lot of images just zoomed past my eyes here, making them water. Like flash from an atom cloud. You’re very right about time.
    Cool, thanks. I hope I’m right about time, I’ve staked a fair bit on it.

  13. The time slipping works well and the gradually draining of the whiskey holds it together.

    Just out of interest – how long do you spend creating the pieces you post here? How much editing and re-writing have they had?
    This one had a lot of editing, it sat in the drafts for months literally til I figured out it was all in the tenses. People probably don’t notice but it starts in the present tense and ends in the past tense. When I figured out that nonlinear time technical trick the emotional tone somehow fell into place behind it. I use different techniques for different pieces, sometimes they are half hour improvisations, sometimes they are carefully crafted over days. “By A Rushing Stream A Soldier Knelt” took three days fulltime, but it was a special one. Thanks for the question.

  14. yes i had noticed how the time slips from present to no tense really to past following this masterful sentence:

    “Won’t be long now. ”


    ” Time is not linear she had said and kissed him goodbye each moment eternal”

    it’s really cool how you evoke time here in several different ways–tenses and concepts, memories and experience

    in some ways, at first, i found it disturbing but then it unravelled itself when i saw how time stops in the end

  15. This really brought me into the moment. Wonderful.
    Thanks Paul, viva la revolution.

  16. i’ve read this countless times now .. each time makes my heart stop and start again … a different way each time … and it is, isn’t it? different every time?

    great loops of action repeat but there’s a non-linear continuity that connects the most intimate of moments and every soul on this planet … their dramatic moments are connected ..

    that whiskey glass is the axis …

    yet how this writing spans it all is magical, horrifically glorious, and pure glorious .. because somehowalso the connector is

    Love …

    all those farewells under any/all circumstances are so very powerful … they outshine the dark …

    You are awesome, Shell. Your comments are absolutely fantabulously wonderful and I will never tire of telling you that. Thankyou,

  17. Heartbreakingly raw.

  18. Now I can exhale…….

  19. wow, this flowed smoother than the finest whiskey i’ve ever tasted… did you, by any chance, age this in an oak barrel…?

    i’ve missed out on some gems, i see… and i humbly apologise for not being present enough…

    Happy New Year, friend…

    Here’s to Literary Immortality for both of us…

  20. A sad and lovely portrait in history. Happy New Year, Squires. And a year of much grand poetry ahead. AK

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