"Those were hard things for me to come by, and I offer them to you for what they may be worth." - Toby Wolff

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Time Travel

There are only so many miles in a day.
She watches them click by
flipping over like a pre-digital electric clock
fwap - fwap - fwap!

To curb hunger costs four miles.
If you want to eat downtown
you starve for a couple days
to gain ground.

Her body is shaped like eternity
hour glassed
and the miles run like grains
through the narrow opening of allowance
building as they do,
in steady accumulation.

There are twenty miles left to the month
and everything is drawn in
to a balancing act,
hands weighing options as if they were fruit
this orange?
this apple?
Which is more miles per pound?

She knows her miles are numbered
and that the favorable ones roll quickly
while the painstaking take too long.
Yearning for  coffee
she decides the three miles just aren't worth it.
Tomorrow she may need to take a detour.
Detours are costly.
Damn riot cost her eight miles today.
Tomorrow she'll stop time.


  1. Annie,
    I love the use of pre-digital.I have found it strange over the years hearing people how you need to save or preserve time...How can you save something you do not have,do not possess..Everytime you stop to think...its gone..its always moving...

    1. :) This is really about leasing a car. With the lease you are only allowed so many miles to drive, so I am always conserving and weighing options. So I can save miles. But the time element seemed to dovetail so well in the writing.

  2. I will just leave you a cup of hot coffee at your doorstep as I stroll on by.

  3. Annie, I felt this one all the way down to my toes. "Her body is shaped like eternity..." Indeed, you beautiful poet, you.

    I thought of those 3 teachers who were working several jobs each who won our lotto money. It tickled the hell out of me. If it couldn't be you and me who won, I'm glad it was some teachers. Love you!!!

    1. And such lovely painted toes they are...hovered over by that dragonfly! I wonder if the rich play Lotto? I bet they don't. Can you imagine a celebrity staning in line at 7-Eleven asking for a quick pick?

      Love you too!

  4. My problem is that I need more miles in a day than a days allotment...and I want in a day more miles than a weeks allotment...


    1. We always seem to want more than we're alloted. If I had double the miles, I'd have triple the need? We spend as much as we make. We eat as much as we're given. We reach the boundaries and push.

  5. For me this was less about the "what" in the poem (leased cars or calories, I wasn't sure at first) and more about the "why." Because I count too. I count everything, the checks and the balances and the deposits and withdrawals in my life and I'm always counting, counting, counting, trying to be good, longing to get to a point where there's a little more breathing room in my life, and five extra dollars or five extra miles won't make or break my day.

    I wish things didn't feel so compressed in either of our lives. They don't tell you when you look for grace in your own life that it exists in the space between all the numbers you're counting, and when there's no space between it's tempting to feel like grace just walked out the back door.


    1. Yes! It could be anything you must budget and weigh. Ha...Grace in the Space. I was really hoping one of my family members would win the lottery so we could all breathe easier :)

  6. I don't think I could ever lease a car if you have to pick and chose if you can go somewhere. While you weigh options on if you can go somewhere, I am doing the same with food. I have been exercising everyday trying to lose weight. So far 35lbs, but then a birthday party or holiday comes along and I have to say to myself "can I have a piece of cake or can I eat a little more?" I usually do but then spend extra time at the gym. The price we pay for the things we want.

  7. ah, there is no wagering with time, is there, or any damn thing? it falls where it might.

    i could never lease. i'd undermine it all before i got off the lot:)


  8. Excellent m'dear, but I'd always choose coffee first

  9. What a wonderful poem once I had the key. It's true. They (the proverbial "they") set a limit that is not very practical. What a great theme, proving you can get poetry from anywhere. I remember what it felt like, though I haven't been in the situation for decades. It's a special kind of poverty, I think, living under contracted limits that won't work. That's the exact limit that having enough money lifts off you. I don't want to be rich per se, but I do want all those constraints gone from my financial life. I like to think I live within my means but I would like some cooperation from my means, damn it!

    Anyway, I got a poem from it too. Thanks.

    1. Yes, you're right. It is a forced poverty of sorts, and seems unrealistic, yet somehow I manage to live within the contraints. So...I'm curious of your mile nazi muse. I will go check it out :)

  10. honestly, i laughed out loud at the last line. i found it a light antidote to the deep journey that preceded it. i thought it was perfect that way. it summed up my mood quite well, and more often than i like to admit:)

    1. You actually LOL'd!!! Glad I made you laugh Shutter Bug :)

  11. whew, i can't catch my breath racing this fast! i had no idea this was even remotely related to a car rental, but that didn't stop me from getting the point. i love tracy's comment about looking for grace. both dr einstein and dr seuss agree that the numbers don't count.

    love to you, annie.

  12. I watched a Hawking show this weekend on time travel. He said time travels slower in space, that the gps satellites need a clock-fudge because they keep losing time in orbit. In other words, the same clock on Earth will run faster than the same clock in space.

    It's a mass thing. He said you even run a little bit slower next to the pyramids, owing to their mass, which if you ask me, is why so many people feel at-ease near the mass of a mountain.

    Weird, eh. We should all find a mountain to stand on during those good times, just to stretch them out a bit.

    - Eric

  13. Cute.

    My wife always uses the car, and I'm always left with the bicycle.


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