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  • Writer's pictureRyan Nowlin

Final Draft of Time with the Season

Time with the Season

Time with the season; only she doth carry

June in her eyes, in her heart January.

---The Spring, Thomas Carew

Three or four things had fallen

into my lap unexpectedly,

a vacation home and some

mysterious ailment causing

me to roll over onto the stone

floor by the hotel pool

shaded by a few sickly

palms recesses where

tireless minds display

their most secretive

and affordable memories.

You can’t convince me

that I was sharing in some

collective hallucination

for a new season and/or a

companionable nostalgia

for the Greeks. Can we map

ourselves in the gaze of

the Medusa? What if the graph

of set expectations

was itself unmoored and

you no longer knew where

you were standing?

To remain goal oriented

across a span of time as

one does for a dead-line

with purposes unknown.

Something you said in passing

about how we can no longer tell

the seasons by the fruit

we find at the market. I guess

there was something practical

to learn in the nursery---

I was riveted to a view of the

ocean and the beach ball---The wind

didn’t stop. Without identity all

is lost. Paper is scarce.

If we use less we’ll have little

to say. My affairs turn out badly,

the sky papered over with flimsy

nuances. They cross the limit---

You’d think, by now I’d be used

to the rain stealing the light

and the girls in galoshes waiting

for the drug stores to open.

Is ordinary fruit no longer

acceptable? Must it be pomegranate

or mahogany antique? Are puzzlers

found only on $ 100 bills?

Are the plazas to be unshaven,

trickling down to the poor

like a useless tear?

When sitting next to beautiful

people the most endearing

object was always you.

Anyway, you’ll never

get to know them, not even

their Christian names, with

the terrible onslaught

of breakfasts, brunches,

and phone calls, all that

schlepping and shelving because

you don’t want anything extraneous

in your way. Some liked

the gorging, yet nothing happened

and they flew away beyond

a white wall. Can you keep up?

It’ll take weeks to fill you

in on the savory details.

Me, I’m doing ok up here in my

crumbling crow’s nest. Land ho ( I guess)

a newly minted land called Israel,

not part of any one person.

Its boulevards go quickly by,

flanked by houses not built

to be lived in, flagstones

for you to walk on or between.

A joyful evening on a sad occasion

is better than the reverse,

I suppose. Nights after my father’s

death I carried my briefcase

up and down the stairs to a carrel

in the library. Dorm life was

sublime, with its moon-shaped

elevator dials. Footnotes

come to mind and a subsequent march

in a continuous succession

of goose steps. Then after a month

long hiatus I resumed

donating blood to the Red Cross.

Research made everything take

longer, even writing.

A parade of authors.

As the visible world

disappeared the word, spit or

spirit entered my mind like a distant

steam boat. The fan’s steady whirr

of where...where? Lulls, scolds,

come back into the beyond.

The darkness of a plum high in the plum tree.

Are a deer and her fawn

in early morning watchful,

on “alert” a dream or a naive conceit?

Thinking they are unobserved,

they bed down in the mulch,

leaves flickering between

light and shadow. To wander

from room to room, so quiet,

a hair descends, steps

creak, a little inscrutable

world in a pinprick.

This shelter of neglect and

decades long delay, whiskered

white repairs fall from

the sky and exit or

enter. The poor light up

the island, whispering

the “truth” about “lonesome”

George, the tortoise who

ignored his companion

for ten years before

attempting to mate

with her again. Then he died.

A black bird caught a worm

it could not eat all at once.

Feigned affection bounces

right off me, shining

the x-ray beam on the paint

chips in Van Gogh’s beard,

which may have staved off his

madness. Van Gogh’s leaky

jar placed in a marsh, its cross-

hatched reflection on

the still surface of the water.

The day wore on as if it had

been etched in with a stencil,

or with slanting pencils

of sunlight and in the hedges,

a swarm of fireflies blink on

and off, undisturbed ashes

from a cigarette---

mosquitoes thicken as if running

from a garden hose and in

the Red Hook of tomorrow one last

dangling red bee.

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