finite minutes of mine
he says we have to make ours
count but I just count the hours down
more concerned with surviving
them than living them, with tolerating
them than filling them, watching the spokes skip
around the Death Counter’s dial, studying the perfect
face of my bedside clock, knowing that
the meaning of life is that it stops:
it stops, but not soon enough for me
(too soon for most though, apparently)
Our love died when I lost track of time: we thought we had so much of it.
But while I’ve been writing this the clock has stayed in my eye line
and you’ve crept a minute closer to your death
while I’ve leapt a minute closer to mine.
Oh, we had the time of our lives,
for all that time, all of the time.
(It’s really nice knowing that
neither of us will make it
out of this alive)
In the hours when I cannot bear to be alive
I just sit and watch my watch,
watch my past growing,
watch my future decreasing,
knowing that I
can always find
comfort in the movement
of the metal hands that live
on my left wrist, and in the glow of those
digital green lines, shape-shifting in the corner
of the darkened room, watching you sleep away
your minutes while I think/worry/wish away mine.
Every minute propels us forwards toward a good thing,
or great things, a tragedy, an opportunity, a nightmare,
a breakthrough, a love, a loss, a success, our deaths.
(It’s only a matter of time)
I stand outside the jeweller’s shop
High Street Hypnotherapy.
I light a cigarette and press my forehead to the glass
and watch the watches, trying to catch one out for being too slow,
or maybe all the others are fast? But they move like, well,
they move like fucking clockwork and so I remain
with my head against the pane,
killing time in the rain,
in pain, killing time,
literally watching time
You’d call this a waste of a time
but it’s not, it’s progress,
it’s necessary progress:
staying alive until the time
comes to die.
Now that I’ve written this, I’m
three minutes closer to that time
and now that you’ve read this,
so are you: closer to your
demise as well as mine.
(don’t worry, I’ll go
Originally published in the Fevers of the Mind anthology ‘Overcome‘ (August 2021)