Sunday, January 27, 2008

from 'The Book of Random Access'


The things you see at 4am! Do people still have their milk delivered in glass bottles? Without my glasses the streetlights float like faery lights across the park. St. Elmo's Fire. The bushes thrash about in the wind. First person singular present tense. What else is there? I think about my father thirty years dead. John and I are not on speaking terms. I stress about work and what I have to do tomorrow. How will my children live? That's future tense. The will-o-the-wisp lights in the short-sighted dark. The long-sighted page. Is it all happening in a continuous present? he asks / asked / will ask. What time is it? All clocks moving through the ether are slowed down compared to clocks at rest in the ether. One would have to distinguish between “apparent” and “true” space and time measurements, with the further proviso that “true” dimensions and “true” times could never be determined by any experimental procedure. That clock on my wall, its numbers are blurred. Long have we parted been, lassie my dearie. I remember talking to an old man when I was a child. He was my cousin’s grandad. He said that as a young man he came to Newcastle from Yorkshire to look for work. That was in 1900. In the narrow streets near the river he was surprised to see women sitting outside their front doors, smoking clay pipes, as he'd never seen such a thing in Yorkshire. Why should I think about this at four o’clock in the morning?

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