Saturday, September 7, 2013

Time and Mercy

Time and Mercy

Do you remember when
we sat pretending
to read, numb
in the merciful place
that had been made
as comfortable as possible;
coffee blooming, warm lamplight, soft seats
in an ersatz home, (torture cell

foyer to hell)
where looking past the glow,
grotesque swinging doors
muffled in rubber
buffered the place
where love breaks us,
where the bodies were
explained, numbered and named,

confusing sacks tubed and tangled
in the hopeful rape of machines.
Pain, gasping for air, amnesia of coma
walked up and down across the beds
while we watched helpless
those who came to help but
couldn’t care. The round clean clock
jumped at my face, a monocle

focusing the white waste
through its ticking lens. 
Do you remember? I'll
never forget, or how I thought
I saw us then the way
we really were
and was so wrong.

~September 2013

 posted for     dVerse Poets
Poetics: Try To Remember
Karin Gustafson (ManicDDaily) hosts today's session at the pub, and asks us to follow the winding trails of memory wherever they may lead, or where they get lost. This one took me somewhere I haven't thought about in quite awhile.

Image: Time Transfixed, 1938, by Rene Magritte
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  1. grotesque swinging doors
    muffled in rubber
    buffered the place
    where love breaks us, ...dang, love that stanza, the naming and numbering of the bodies, its just solid...nice grit in this too...and what a wrong we are at times...

  2. The pictures here are so powerful and I don't just mean the Magritte, although it is pretty amazing.

    This picture of what seems a hospital or the waiting room at one is so powerful, something about the muffling of the doors in rubber is especially gripping - both because a very real detail and somehow brings up something of rubber rooms and rubber billy clubs. And the pretend comfort - the deception of that is very powerful, the monocle of the clock--one feels under terrible observation. And these moments that feel epiphanic but are simply powerful because they are dramatic and tense but not necessarily truthful in what they impart - there are really a lot of moments like that in life, but I've never quite thought about them that way. Such an apt way to put it. k.

  3. Yes, the images are gut-wrenching, heartfelt, grotesque, & your willingness to return to that place, where your fellowship, your relationship sailed on a sea of lies, touches us deeply; liked all of this, and liked the ambiguity as well.

  4. Powerful read. >KB

  5. Rending and full of the surreal imagery that haunts us in the corners of memory we hide from. This hit close to home, in the interstices. The flow is dreamlike and suspenseful, incredible work.

  6. Reminds me of a convolescent home and my grandmother.

  7. Sounds like a powerful image, borne of deep pain and sorrow. I hope time has had some mercy since.

  8. "in the hopeful rape of machines."

    The speaks to my own dark places. Powerful, painful write.

  9. I like the twist in the ending but the details where love breaks us, gasping for air, made this read really powerful Hedge ~ Happy weekend ~

  10. I found this to penetrate deep parts of me - it took me to flashes of documentaries of WWI and WWII that I have seen. The word ersatz pulled at me making me think of POW's - made a deep impact with me.

    As I look at the image it gives me more thoughts to go along with your piece, but I will muse on my own.

  11. buffered the place/where love breaks us.
    this poem, for me, is about the "in-between."
    the place where details shine and truth is vague.
    foyer to hell indeed.
    wonderful, wrenching read.

  12. shudder and yet I welcomed it to read again, you drew me in to your memories in this...well done.

  13. You tricked me into thinking this was going to be about a couple in a loveless marriage. I was so surprised to find them amongst bodies. Gripping poem, Joy.

  14. Read once, twice, thrice and I can attempt to address "Time and Mercy" as if I am in the narrator's world and not mine: A disaster and among the bodies and prayers one holds in hope one dearer than dear, and thinks recovery is not possible. And then we earn about time and mercy and strength, if then .... The moment and then progression of images here cut me to the quick, but surprise me with resilience too.

  15. Fantastic write, and those closing lines are so perfect!

  16. hospital waiting room or tragic ER memory... the surreal feel of a dear loved one fighting for life - or loosing th battle. I often think "time" must seem such a taunter and I think this is what you get at with "The round clean clock jumped at my face, a monocle filtering..." So well expressed, this haunts me ... I feel I need to send you a virtual "hug".

  17. there's such a loneliness in that pic and it mirrors in your write as well.... the pretending to read, the things that are unspoken that make a comfortable place feel and look like hell.. masterful carving out of emotions with the images here hedge

  18. That twist from the warm place into the second stanza really was great... Going from a cosy place into hell... sounds and from there into imagery that sounds like something you'd rather forget... Great write

  19. Memory and imagination entwined...and the feelings so strong, so strong.

  20. Powerful! and the twists and turns from comfort to harshness of situations...ah well sometimes perceptions and we do get them wrong

  21. "The round clean clock
    jumped at my face, a monocle"

    Magritte would be proud. As for me, there goes more hair.

    Funny how we tell ourselves all kinds of helpful fictions that, in retrospect, seem so absurd and flimsy.

  22. Masterfully done! Such a strong piece, I could feel the emotion of these memories.

  23. time and mercy.


    two different things

  24. There is no substitute for a home filled with love, especially if it
    is a cell. Warm fuzzy to cold in two words. Well done. Cold and time stretches endlessly. Great reaches here.
    Irony in this write.


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats