Thursday, April 05, 2012

The Scraping and Grinding of Time

Sam Doctors

—Sam Doctors, Truckee, CA

There was a Monarch late to Mexico,
battle the fierce winds of late October,
lose the struggle and fall to the dunes,
wings one last flutter of orange and black,
gave up the fight to join his migrating mates,
remained, soon buried in blowing sands.
We so often forget that just as a butterfly
caught in the gusts of a changing season,
battling the fierce winds of late fall,
we tire of life’s Sturm und Drang,
our wings one last flutter fall to the dunes,
soon merge with the dunes of time.


—Sam Doctors

There must be a reason for dark
and gloomy days,
days that cling to the skin,
to places between back-bone
and ribs, clammy and dank.
When such times follow close,
creeping one upon another,
angst is never far from the spirit,
and occupies the mind,
its neurons and pathways.

There must be reasons for
intervals that are grey and overcast,
spaces that are reflective,
like the slow movement of a
Mozart symphony
or strand of a Strauss tone poem.
The mind turns in on itself to memories,
dwelling in those times
on thoughts of might-have-beens,
decisions made from pain and hunger,
then leaving, fleeing, running;
only to be regretted
in periods of light

Unlike the curving arrow of time
in parallel universes,
we are unable to undo rendered verdicts,
to find our way on tracks and trails not taken,
to know consequences only imagined.
On such days I sing of regrets—
or roads not traveled,
of lives not lived,
of ought-to-have-beens.


—Sam Doctors

Scraping and grinding, grinding and scraping,
the sounds of a tropical beach in the making.
The parrot fish with heavy-duty fused teeth
scrapes and grinds tropical coral reefs,
eating the seaweed they clean off detritus,
then secrete fine pieces of coral as sand,
millennia after millennia after millennia.
Parrot fish poop has helped create the beaches
in Tahiti, Palau, Bonaire, etc., etc.
and for a bonus they clean the reefs
so baby corals can take hold and grow.


—Sam Doctors

We live by modern time:
by seconds, minutes and hours,
by clock time since its invention
just a short few centuries ago.

Before that the song of birds,
light filtering in
through window and sash,
the setting of the sun,
the stars and the moon rising
each in their appointed way
set our internal clocks,
set the day of work and time of sleep,
eternally set our rising and resting.

Cosmic time may be boundless,
cosmic time may disappear
at the bang’s beginning and ending.
Cosmic time disappears
at the event horizon of each black hole.*

There is no time
at our constellation’s core,
all that we know rotates
about this timeless center,
about this black hole.**

*The ‘event horizon’ of a black hole is the boundary beyond which no light may esccape or any information escape.
**It has been confirmed that a massive black hole exists aat the center of our minor constallation, the Milky Way.


—Sam Doctors

Sometimes we shared the short time before sleep
with Long John Silver or King Arthur or Tom Sawyer.
On those too brief-too seldom sometime times
I heard him read with his heavy gutteral accent
the words of Stevenson, or Dumas or Twain,
he stumbled over this word or that,
asked me how to say this word or that.
Still in his late forties coming to grips with
the strange quirks and nuances of English,
still learning to read by reading to me.
It was seldom that we finished any book,
the store and the road forays, delivering this and that
kept him away or bone tired most nights.
Sometimes he started not where we left off,
but far in advance, admitting to reading to himself.
I couldn’t wait to find out how it turned out,
how Jim escaped Long John and the pirates,
or how King Arthur saved his Kingdom,
or how Tim finagled the whitewashing.
So I heard snatches of this book or that,
only knowing how it came out years later,
only recollecting these brief times years later,
realizing there were some positive moments
years and years later to lay beside the anger—
the upraised dining room chair,
the belt that plastered fore and aft,
only later recalling these brief times of tranquility
only many, many years later recalling
the sometime snatches of
Stevenson, Dumas or Twain.


Thanks to Sam Doctors from Truckee for today's poetry! Prof. Samuel I. Doctors has held teaching positions for thirty-five years at the Harvard Business School, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School, the Univ. of Pittsburgh’s Katz Graduate Business School, the Haas School of Business at the Univ. of California, Berkeley and most recently at California State Univ., Hayward. He is the author and co-author of nine books, more than a hundred government sponsored research reports and more than fifty published articles, many in refereed journals. Prof. Doctors received his Doctorate in Business Administration from the Harvard Business School (1969) and he also holds a Doctorate in Jurisprudence from the Harvard Law School (1967) and became a member of the Massachusetts Bar in 1967. He holds a B.S. degree with majors in Mathematics, Classics, Philosophy and Physics from the University of Miami and has done additional graduate work in mathematics, history and philosophy. He is presently working on a book-length set of memoir essays and has written more than 350 poems since his retirement in 2004. A few of his poems have received publication. In August 2011 Finishing Line Press published a chapbook of his poems, Moods & Moments of a Restless Mind.


Today's LittleNip: 

The waste basket is the writer's best friend.

—Isaac Bashevis Singer



 Parrot Fish