Wednesday, January 05, 2011


Time is a quality of movement.

This is a statement that has been haunting me for some years. It has turned up in at least three poems I have written (if long prosepoetic series can also be called poetry), and I think I believe it. “Showing up in poems,” is perhaps the tertiary definition of haunt.

But what does it mean—Time is a quality of movement?

I am not certain I have the answer to that, if by the answer, you mean a single answer and for that answer to be complete. And by you, I mean you but also the some-one asking questions in my head as it spills itself upon the page—an inner four-year old I’d guess, forced to guess. Neither of you should be insulted to share the address, meant as a gesture of intimacy.

Time and space are a continuum. This I know from Star Trek and its warp drive. I think I have warp drive. A desire to contort experience with speed—to jump from one planet to another as stars become rivers. Of course, stars are rivers. The star I see is a river of light running directly to my retina. The same star for you is a different river. Just like people.

Time is a quality of movement

is somewhat demonstrable. Writers sitting on their asses, as I am currently on my ass, sometimes lose time, or experience time in a way infuriating to those around them. And this, I propose, is because they have un-synched (but not severed) their mind from their body. You can un-synch mind from body in many ways, but reading and writing are two notable ones. The mind feels active like firecrackers or popcorn. The body is not active although it may tense as if it were about to be active, straining to maintain that useful sense of potential energy as it goes through the micro-movements of pen on paper or fingers on keyboard.

At this juncture I will offer a note towards my body: I use mainly, almost exclusively, three fingers to type. Two index fingers and the middle finger of my right hand. This arrangement means that my left hand rarely moves as it pecks out letters from the left third of the keyboard, but the right hand (and indeed, the forearm) dances across the space as my eyes flicker across the alphabetical choices. Because my hands are not efficient, I must use my vision—not to hunt, but to calibrate the position of the keyboard in relation to the fingers that should be more capable of independent action by now. I type more slowly than most writers. My hands never keep time with my mind--they force my mind to endlessly stutter over passages that at first were fluid while the rest of my body hovers behind in a self-imposed paralysis. Often, an entire leg falls-to-sleeping from the waist down. Usually, the right leg, which I sometimes fold beneath my ass in imitation of the bones of a birdwing, unused.

Many writers take up yoga—to counteract the effects of bad writing postures but also to re-synch their several experiences of time.

Such re-synching, or healing, can be done with purposeful movement. I have been told. And I feel better after yoga, but my mind is the same gallery of unruly children, popcorn, and fireworks it has always been. Ask Insomnia. My friend will answer you truthfully.


Renaissance Girl said...

“Showing up in poems,” is perhaps the tertiary definition of haunt.

Lovely, and true.

I write while I'm running, in part to keep the body and mind synched: all that rhythm, all that breath.

kirsten said...

Yes, running. I take dance class-but that is also creative and directed somehow in a way that doesn't promote synching. I tried running for a year... loved the endorphins and severed an achilles. no more running.