Tonight the Pendulum Still Swings

by Tina Hoffman
Muse Motel
Second Place, June 2011
Judged by Judith Fitzgerald

I like my new place, to tinker ~ ordered
a new Kassel clock, was thrilled when it arrived.
I sized it up right away, chose a special spot
for display and hammered it to the wall
with a soup can – the only hammer handy,
tools lost by some errant mover guys.

The clock looked level, not cock-eyed; its
dark, rich wood sat up straight against
my creamy new walls in its place of honour.
An empty space exists where its pinnacle
should sit, now with its threads stripped.
“Some assembly required” part of my bargain.

I’m not a carpenter nor as precise as a clock-
maker, but at long last, the penultimate moment:
I attached the pendulum to the clock’s inner guts.
Gave it life with a gentle thrust and thirty twists
from the shiny brass key that did come with it.

Tick, tock, tick! Hooray! Now time to adjust
the bottom weight for pace. I placed trembling
hands on its gold-rimmed face to set ornate,
pre-calibrated hands; tied time to red LED’s
of my always right cable box and waited for chimes.

I am still waiting as tonight, the pendulum still swings.
The sun inevitably sets in the west. I finger the clock’s
key as its hands follow the pendulum’s lead like
a musician to metronome. It ticks, tocks, ticks then
clicks as the chimes finally ring, nonstop. Incessantly.

Do you know what you do or do you think exclusively of anyone but you, of anything but those go-to snapshots featuring skid-rose angles, one relentless need-to-throw lurid glow (or more likely, given the greed to succeed, that sacral altar where the wholly ruthless grin while human beings — Tick! — falter, Psalm or Psalter, gratuitous shelter)? Somenone vacates, relocates, lucidly dreaming, within or without time, appreciates the itinerant still standing, still thwarting these versions, those visions, that porous air textured, withering, swithering, palpably gleaming, thus and hither, guilty heroines where heroes go grinding, winding, grimly binding, formally blinding, sign of the time-smither, the whiff of a whim of a laserlight shim, internal rhythms / rhymes / trim rims; but, you raise high the roof beam moon-blanched blue and calculate the key, the grandfather clock needing not needling, one obsessively gorgeous habit of precision grievously spindling, singing the news, brindling the blues, oblizzerating your hearts and bleeds. Faces stasis, sere, sincere, yours newly sheer, signs truly clear, holy fool's goad glitter glowing, growing, going, gong. Express An Other, My Sister, My Brother; but, HURRY UP PLEASE IT'S TIME . . . Its place, its articulated motion, its punctuated devotion — And, then or when? — sounds its resting gutter, seeks its nesting grace, blasted expansion mutter, second-hand concision, first-class Hail-Mary space — say, sway, background merry-go-ghastly carnivalistic half-past broken hurt gone astray, liquid encharmment, hypnotic bedazzlement, frissson in splendid array sonically missing; but, still, you hear: Life in the past-cast lane — magical, melancholic, uplifting — O, Kassel Tale, what counter-blast time, Poet? Vector trajector — Just when you need just enough to remember this too shall prevail in the glistering sublime; and, yes, you freely do know the chart, the flow of it, the terminally temporal feintly beaten tick stir, trickster, our miraculously collective wholly mechanical industriotically shattered heart. — Judith Fitzgerald