There is a clock that works
only on your tears
and if you cease crying
time will stop
and your life will mean nothing.

There is a clock that works
only on your blood
and if you cease bleeding
time will stop
and your life will mean nothing.

If you do not believe me
you will not understand,
and if you don’t understand
what do I care?

There is a clock, it works
on humdrum things, on paperclips
and washing, faeces, lies,
and if you cease
the dull routines of your days
time will stop
and your life will mean nothing.

There are tears that move
only in time
and if the clock ceases
drawing tears out from your eyes
you will be happy
and your life will mean nothing.

There is blood that flows
only in time
and if the clock gives up
letting the blood slip from your veins
you may start weeping
but your life will mean nothing.

If you do not believe me
you’ll take another route,
and if you take that other route
we won’t meet,
so what will we care?

All the clocks are confused.
They tick and chime:
some feed on laughter, some on mirrors,
others on wheel nuts, the shells of pistachios,
on crude oil from Kuwait, on very unsensational
things, chime and tick and, later on, chime again,
chime once, chime for the first time, the last
time —
some bleed, some let
tears drip out of their workings,
water from cisterns, soap suds,
how is it they all
tell a subtly different story
in this life that we measure
by the passing of moments and days?

This is my clock.
It runs on words.
If I stop writing
the hands will cease moving
and my life will mean nothing.

This is your clock.
It, too, runs on words.
If you stop reading
the clock will stop working,
another clock will start,
and you’ll begin to measure
your moments and days
by what lies before you.

If you believe me
you’ll understand:
will we meet here
for a moment or two?
And if we do, or if we don’t,
can I say that I care? Can you?

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