Sunday, May 05, 2024

A Teaspoon Of Time

 —Poetry by Craig Kirchner, Jacksonville, FL
—Photos Courtesy of Public Domain

Official sacred books, ecclesiastical law,
a member of an order, or a fundamental rule.

Dancers required to move in sequence,
a single theme performed at different times.

A formally codified set of criteria deemed
for a particular artistic style of figurative art.

The eight-head standard used to depict the human
realizes that it is an equivocal way to split ankles
from knees.

The mystery of it, the epiphany, tracing origins
back to Popes and despots, rule-setters of posterity.

It’s the moment, a teaspoon of time, never quite
uttered that way before, accepted as holy scripture,

bound to outlast its relevance, become cultural
talking points of those in need of a Lord. 


   God changes his appearance every second.
    Blessed is the man who can recognize him,
       in all his disguises.
           ―Nikos Kazantzakis,  Zorba the Greek

The only memory is alone.
Others pass under the window,
hats, tops of heads,
like wandering waves
against black asphalt.
They come but mostly go,
and never stop.

The skyline seems surreal,
could and should be removed.
The shops across the lane
are doused by traumaed traffic lights
that bounce on bedroom walls,
on pillowcases choked,
soaked blind.

The furniture, homesick zombies,
decaying like hung meat,
lacquered with bile-smeared sweat,
a satin gray.
The mirror stares back in disgust,
at skin shriveled sugar-brown,
cancered with matted hair,
drawn close as dying clover.

Insomnia chooses, with relish,
not to sleep, it preoccupies, is human.
Forgetting how to tell it,
nothing is true.
Time drifts like dark tides
and only the collecting filth
is dependable.

The room shrinks.  
The dust is moved by melting walls,
like thick parched rust
in driving rain,
exiting sediment seeking rest,
breaths released, never missed,
soul-sought fervor never found.


Named curiously after Odin,
but ignoring the strong “d”—
often makes an overcast entrance,
putting a pall on morale.

Always the day after voting
and the day before thanks,
aligned precisely in the middle,
as though, the star of the show.

The first fourth day of that initial week
saw the creation of sun and moon;
being children of the same,
these icons remain steadfastly full of woe.

Celebrated with ashes on the forehead,
acknowledging that, dust you are
and that to dust you shall return,
and that you know for sure it is Lent.

To Mickey M. and alumni
it’s ‘anything can happen day’,
except of course Tuesday can’t repeat itself,
and it is too early to Thank God it’s here.

Posters in the office
see it somewhat unscrupulously,
as hump-day, making memes of
camels, bison, and Bill Clinton.

Thinking of Bill, and closing the briefcase,
wondering how many toasts to mid-week
have been tinkled while scribbling a to-do list for
Thursday on a small square cocktail napkin.


Cloudless sky at midnight,
it quickly becomes clear that the stars,
in their brilliant pervasiveness,
are as close as we can conceive,
to continuum …. infinity.

The epiphany, an out-of-body
experience, places us in space and time,
beyond the universe of me
in a selfless way that floats
above ego and id.

Robin Williams lying naked in
the grass in Central Park,
busting clouds and imagining
the many solar systems,
both above the heavens, and below the earth.

Imagine if the brightness,
and blue of the glare of the sun,
allowed the radiance of the stars
to become a constant part of days,
as well as the muse of the night.

Perhaps self-centered would antiquate—
sunning naked, afternoon siestas,
would become the norm,
like sleeping with no pajamas,
like the vaporizing of arrogance.

(prev. pub. in Poetry Quarterly, Summer, 2021)


I want to be there,
hovering, heady, buoyant,
every time you unpack a bag.
I will be matching every move,
anticipating turns and missteps.

With levity, cool breezes,
fluffed pillows with mints,
glycerined waters, friendly mirrors.
I will be replenishing the voids
of any unfulfilled needs.

I want to taste the salt of ocean views.
I want to fold the chutes,
shade the sun, chill the wines—
when possible,
with bubbles lighter than air.


As soon as I told her,
I play a game with myself,
I knew what she was thinking,
and then she said it,
“Everyone does it.”

No not that. I lie here holding you,
with my eyes closed,
and I focus on the right lid,
looking at the back of my right eye with both eyes.

With the proper focus the screen forms shapes,
when one becomes familiar,
you zero in on it,
it becomes more defined.

Sometimes it changes size to achieve better clarity.
It’s like a mirror of your sub-conscious,
that your conscious thinks it controls,
… but not really.

I had one play where the screen became
a detailed wood carving.
I know nothing about carpentry or furniture,
so go figure.

“That’s an interesting game,
why am I feeling like the thimble,
or the shoe?”

I thought you’d like it.
When I’m lying here with you, and play,
I see images of you in all sorts of positions.

When I get to your favorite,
is when I realize that you need to close your eyes,
look to the right and learn how to play.

She was 5’2”, maybe 100 pounds.
I started taking note a year ago,
dark hair to her shoulders,
ruddy sun-browned face and hands.
Dressed in neutral tans, greys—
shirt, slacks that looked well-worn,
more part of the persona than the outfit.

She would be walking near the boardwalk,
but just as often five miles inland on the Boulevard.
Away from the beach no one walks, except the
certainly not for miles, and never in the summer sun.
Power-walker outings are a small part of the day.
They dress for the workout, careful to hydrate.
This was not exercise, this seemed her lifework.

She may have been homeless, but no belongings,
her gait seemed determined but not rushed.
I envisioned her legs to be hard as steel,
her ventures seemed perpetual.
I spotted her daily.

As it became ritual to be on the lookout,
the frequent occurrences increased.
She walked all the time—for a living,
or on a mission.
A mystic trek, perhaps her monastery burned down—
if stopped, or accosted, perhaps martial arts.

Taoism emphasizes action without intention,
simplicity, spontaneity.
The walker was for me the embodiment of this
achieving perfection,
becoming one with the unplanned rhythms of
the all.

The myth grew with each sighting.
I did not approach her or attempt to engage,
I didn’t want the intrigue to end.  
I was reminded of the monk’s story—
the man kept running faster and faster,
to escape his shadow, until he died.
All he needed to do was step into the shade.


Today’s LittleNip:

—Craig Kirchner

It’s not the empty, inner face,
or idle, motionless hands
that threaten, throttle, stall,
that stop me gazing, as they do,
at our morning un-brushed version,
but the tiny ticking, ticking, ticking ….

meters the pulse, defines the space,
preoccupies a priori,
any schedule I might have had,
of endless capriciousness,
fascination, of waking you,
turning you over, Deja-vu,
videos of tireless,
timeless licking, ticking, ticking


Newcomer Craig Kirchner thinks of poetry as hobo art, loves storytelling and the aesthetics of the paper and pen. He has had two poems nominated for the Pushcart, and has a book of poetry, Roomful of Navels. After a writing hiatus, he was recently published in Decadent Review, Wild Violet, Last Leaves, Literary Heist, Ariel Chart, Cape Magazine, Flora Fiction, Young Ravens, Chiron Review, Valiant Scribe and several dozen other journals. Welcome to the Kitchen, Craig, and don’t be a stranger!

 Craig and Dieadra Kirchner

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