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Odin Roark

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Books by Odin Roark
  Faceless Clocks
by Odin Roark
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Rated "PG" by the Author.

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Recent poems by Odin Roark
•  Desperation Calling Out
•  Duped By The Present
•  Strikingly Naked
•  Slippery Banana Peel
•  Noiseless Thunder
           >> View all 1,116


After reading a Times article re: Kafka’s last trial, I couldn’t help but find myself exploring the many years in New York, reviewing what I/we dream, fashion as memory, and fantasize. In this invention of Time, is Man meant to perceive chronological events in a horizontal passage, or is the age of existence vertical in nature, all experiences as one, what’s happening now as both memory and the immediate moment? Do we merely choose from a vertical "nowness," determining that which suits our needs through Time's mechanism?


Faceless Clocks

 

Time

          Invented by man
          to fill
          empty places

          Most dream easily
          but in The City of faceless clocks?

Ticking allusion awaits illusion

          As the subway empties
          and yesterday's leather straps fade out
          their idle swing overhead but a shadow dance in balance
          gray plastic molds give way to orange upholstered benches
          Brooks Bros' melancholy shades
          skinny ties beneath cunning eyes
          waiting for hula-hoop hips

          brush this

          touch that

          while Herald Tribune folded accordion style
          stretched forward from tortoise shell glasses
          stand atop Florsheim wingtips hugging undercarriage tightly
          shoeshine woes for those with dough
          listening fearfully
          feeling carefully
          whispering morning prayers
          pick-pocket blues
          stay 'way from me

Ticking silently

          Into Kafka-like adding machine offices
          once thriving with hourly wages
          now awaiting wrecking balls
          their barren floors
          still alive with ether of shuffling ambition
          the Mad Men walls now but cobweb mantles in limbo
          commerce caves of dust etched ghosts
          stare vacuously skyward
          for...

Ticking anxiously

          Ah
          the Happy Hour
          that's every hour
          for a bar is a bar
          even without people
          even when chairs are stacked on tables
          and tired neon Pabst Blue Ribbon flickers
          where designer sneakers are replaced by
          square toed Fryes with brass
          peeking out from bleach-stained bell bottoms
          held up by matching brass belt
          gouging attention away from satin shiny shirt
          draped over pocket-less-bun-heaven eye candy

          Dollar a shot
          make it two
          hit me again
          ‘til after 3 AM
          and Time delivers
          the Klee-like night of color and clashing

Ticking loudly

          42nd street once more than just
          a cross-roads
          now a glittering cover for continued
          bright-lit consumption
          waiting to become just another passage of time

          Forever the Taxi Driver's lament
          windshields mirror
          slumbering skies invaded by
          glaring marquee lights
          bulbs 1-5-7 burned out
          2-4-8 & 9 blinking
          its strobing stabs at eyes gazing out
          from a backseat respite

          The checkered yellow stops
          just another all-nighter about to wind down
          emptying the cab of another memory in progress

          From sunrise train
          to ledger sheet hell
          to Happy Hour escape
          to bright lights dream-believe

Ticking stops

          The Big Empty now
          at night train's end of the line
          that place where worn-torn stairwells lead
          through turnstile exit
          up past thirst craved walls
          of more littered passages
          leading to

          A nocturnal desert's oasis
          about to become
          a city's sunrise
          where gull
          pigeon
          ferry boat
          and sky
          meet 

          A surreal wonderment waiting
          today's empty places
          standing free
          ready
          its memory made eternal by
          faceless clocks
          while

          Life's chorus of masks remains...
          bemused

 

 




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Reviewed by Jerry Bolton 6/27/2012
Whatever you say, whatever you protests, we are a clock-watching civilization. I am quite familiar with Forty-Second Street, the good, the bad and the damned ugly and pizza at twenty sense a slice. I like it that you closed out your poem with the masks that we adorn to face the day and what ever happens during the day we are adept at changing masks mid-stream.
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