Thursday, August 27, 2009

Kosrof Chantikian: Dream of a Conversation with Time

I have come alone
have nothing in my hands
to destroy you

only my eyes to see you
I want to learn
to know

how you exist
the old woman in the square
near the fountain

said you talk only
about the past & the future
that you believe the present

is an illusion, a dream we have
when our eyes fall asleep
she said the present died years ago —

that you had killed her
after an argument
I want to know if this is true

& then Time spoke:

sometime ago
What you call the past & the future
decided that the present
was no longer needed

not wanted by anyone
no longer of proper use
and so had to be abolished
disassembled annihilated forbidden
erased from our memory

I answered:

Time, how can you exist then
with only the past & future?
you would be incomplete

whatever happens to us
must happen in the world, not outside of it
therefore, an event such as death

must also happen
in some age, a century, say,
a year, a season, a month, a day, even a moment

how can we live or die except on a certain day
a particular hour?
how can I die except in the present?

the death of the present, then
is your illusion, Time
— you need the present

it is part of your existence
without it nothing
is possible

without it even you are dead
futile inadequate
you are the impostor

then Time spoke:
you believe I am made of three indivisible threads
but you have been misled

the present is a phantom thread
to attempt to touch it is to make it disappear

even to imagine it exists
is to prove it cannot

to speak it
is to cause it to vanish

the old woman was wrong
I did not kill the present

I killed only this phantom —
A false notion of myself

or rather — I abolished it
prohibited its existence

I, therefore, did not kill the present —
as you call it —
as much as the idea of it

the idea — which others insist on seeing
when there’s nothing actually there —

like looking at the sea
pretending to understand its motions

why it moves the way it does
why it exists

why the waves tear away from the sea
only to return to the sea
to itself

so you know now
that if others insist on

seeing or speaking of—
not what’s there

but of what they imagine is there —
what thej want to be there —
then I am not to blame

do you think
believing in something passionately

is reason enough
for it to exist in the world?

I shook my head
on hearing what Time had said

but before I could say anything more
I awoke from my dream.

in the late autumn afternoon of September
I looked at the trees outside my window

the sky was mostly a cool pastel
with thin patches
of clouds

a light wind moved the thin green
and brown clumps of needles
hanging from the pine

a squirrel ran across the branches of the oak
not to play
but looking for food

it was a good time
to be alive
as good a time as I could

to be


with you

This poem has previously appeared in the 2008 issue of Ginosko Literary Journal

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