Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Past On

Past On, or

The Past too Shall Pass

by Elliot Bougis

(591 words)

The past


But the past parts

––do they part?

Time lost

is the only time

we know,

the only time

we gain

with the tender called pain.

We speak in echoes;

we serve the dead.

The passed on

we know

are free

from the pull of the past

as the fallen vase

we hide,

and the fallen heart

we hid,

are free

from the pull of gravity,

and the hard hands of hope.

To be free of time,

outside time…

To surpass the past

by passing…

Gam zeh ya’avor.

+ + +

Memory flees

the touch of the mind

as oil from the touch of soap

on the empty face of water

four-cornered flees.

At the faintest touch

the past collapses

into itself

like a folded blanket

of darkness––

stripped, shelved, delved, but mute––


like a dark comforter.

Memory hides

from the tongue of recollection,

from the lips of introspection,

as darkness only darkens

when a beam of 'lectric light

licks the night.

The gleam of the present

blinds the eye of the mind––

tiny rods toppled and burst,


like bowling pins aflame––

as a torch in hand

blinds the probing

nighttime eye, aye, I.

Thus does dark's ancient foe,

thus does the light,

become a tool of darkness

for the fool in darkness,

much as the present––

the fruit of the past,

unripe or rotten,

only we can say

in time––

casts its full-grown hunched shadow

over the soiled seeds

of the past.

Get thee behind me.

+ + +

In time

the mind drifts back

in time:

just as the body melts into its present––

stark, dense, fleeting,

inescapable, and invisible––

so paraffin fumes fume,

and escape,

so hot

then not,

in time;

while the body,

the body built of wax

so cool,

then hot,

melds in place,

the brittle debris of flickering glory:

a cenotaph of light

in the cenotaph

of time,

in space.

Was it here that I stood

that day, or

is it only here that I stand

this day?

Which is the press

and which the palimpsest?

“Memory speaks

before knowing remembers.”

But I wonder, aye,

who is at which end

of the microscope…

And who dials,

and who picks up.

+ + +

Where I find myself––

is it the same where

where I found a place

for myself?

One when

where I won,

staked my claim

in time;

struck a furrow in space,

scattered seeds,

in case;

my nails scratching, digging,

saying this is mine,

in time,

this place,

this furrowed face,

all mine

to mine.

The puzzle of myself––

is it really made of the pieces I find

in myself?

Am I just a collage

of my past, or

am I just the shadow

cast ahead

in time,

my future,

a corridor of opaque hope,

cast for me, from me, by me, despite me,

by the dying light of past-lit candles

called memories?

What does the past impart

when it parts?

What does the present leave

when it leaves?

Is my present

the key

in that dark void of past passion,

or only just another way

of telling the riddle

in reverse?

We shroud, we shred

the echoes

under a laughter––

call it progress––

that mocks the dead

for making us.

Slip the yoke and change

the joke––

or is it just

a change of the joke

with a self-tied yoke?

+ + +

My past has cost me

so much of my past.

The time has come,

time has come

and gone,

for the past…

Time is up

for the past:

to go now,

in time.

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