Posts Tagged ‘past


century plant (the here and now)

i haven’t thought about time all week.

perhaps i dipped a toe or two (maybe a whole leg) into the past, but i have not looked forward, nor tried to divine the future by reading tea leaves, wetting my finger and holding it up to gauge the direction of the wind, looked out to sea for a sail breaking over the horizon, stared deeply into my crystal ball (what? you’re surprised i have a crystal ball? really, you shouldn’t be. how else do you think i am able to dig so deeply into the time(s) of my life?)

what is most impressive, to me at least, is that i have lived in the moment or for the moment, however you want to look at it, all week long. it’s not that i’ve consciously sought out the ‘now’, but at the same time, the ‘now’ has seemed to be enough for me (in a “how-now-brown-cow-kind-of-way.” which reminds me, i had a speech impediment as a child, not a stutter so much as an inability to properly pronounce certain consonants; alright, i had a lisp. my mother, wisely and presciently, sought out a speech therapist and i spent a couple of years working on overcoming said ‘disability’.)

there’s something to be said for living in the now, except for what can be said for looking backward and forward–a balance that you may spend your entire life trying to maintain. i suppose we could all take a lesson from the century plant; it seems to know the secret of maintaining its equilibrium, ignoring time entirely. for now.


untitled (past perfection)

if you ignore history, are you doomed to repeat it?  is your past catching up with you? are you unhappy with what just took place in the kitchen? if so, you may be suffering from past perfection even though when you look back at your history all you see is imperfection. this may cause some tension in your life as you try to overcome the circumstances that have landed you in the spot you now find yourself  (with your favorite coffee mug in pieces around your feet.) you may even find the need to express your past perfection with an epithet. may i recommend “shit skippy”? “fuck” may be substituted as well should you have had the broken coffee mug for more than 3 decades without ever so much as a chip occurring. [do exercise some caution when picking up the pieces of your past perfection. although cleaning up after yourself is considered an important attribute and necessary social skill(take heed if you are looking for a spouse/mate/partner), you may consider weeping inconsolably over the loss–of your favorite coffee mug–before bending down to gather up the shards of your past, imperfections notwithstanding.]


untitled (nothing’s perfect)

i was going to write about verb tenses, but then thought better of it.  there’s enough tension in the world without me prattling on about the future, the past, the present, and the conditional. of course, the week is young and i may yet find the inspiration to explicate the future, the past, the present, and the conditional. [as consolation, there will also be pretty pictures to compensate for my nonsense.]


self-portrait with dachshund

everything about me now is a little softer, a little rounder, a little more out-of-focus.  the past (the distant past, not the recent past) seems clearer and closer, perhaps even more real as i scratch under the surface of memory, fact and the fiction that always accompanies it (the fiction often more true than the fact.)

the sharp edges of youth have eroded, those uncertainties, those fears (some do remain, as they probably always will), washed away with the passage of time; decisions made early in your life that determine the course of your life affected by the prevailing winds, terrain, minerals, resources so that what you thought would be ‘carved in stone’ has been rubbed smooth by that which you have no control over.

they say you determine your future and perhaps, in many ways, they may be right; there are things you can do that will chart your future course, but for many of us, happenstance has been the better plan, or at least the happier plan.   it’s not for everyone, the future looms large now, uncertainty a less pleasing sensation than it was even a few short years/months/days/minutes/seconds ago.

bleached out as you are by the sun (or any other light of scrutiny, examination, divining), your edges more an aura than something you could grab a hold of, hang on tight to, steady yourself, right your course, or even retreat and re-focus your energies (the es of life), you may find yourself, as you have in the past, letting go, sighing, ignoring, blinded by the light.

and try as you might to make those determinations, the ones that will prepare a future for you that will rely less on chance and more on, on, on, whatever the opposite of that would be–could it be planning?–matters not, the course is set, you’re already a deep canyon and the future is your delta,  its shifting sands your future, but not your end.


you are here

you are here.  so reassuring that statement.  you are here.  where else could you be, but here?  you never would see a sign that read “you are there.”  that would be senseless.  at least as our perception of here & there are concerned.  but why can’t you be there if you’re standing here?

but there exists at the same time as here, does it not?  if you are here, it stands to reason that someone might be there at the same time you are here.  one could argue the point–i suppose–that here & there only exist when one is at either point in time, but neither exist in different times do they?  here & there are simultaneous points in time one might say, if one were so inclined to look at time that way.  that way being a vertical sense of being here (or there.)

it is not difficult to imagine (or for that matter to conceive of the possibility) that one might be both here & there when, in fact, the fixed point of here is your world view?

i am here, but i am also there…there where the focus of my attention is, where my eye is leading me, that there is me as well.   i am here & i am there.   possibly i am somewhere else & neither here nor there.

that then would be looking into your future, possibly, or possibly it could be your old  now or your new past, you are only looking after all.   that is, believing you are here & there at once (or separately.)   you see (perhaps understand is a better word, i would not want you to think that we could foretell the future by seeing into it) that that possibility of existing both now (here) & then (there) is all i’m trying to say to you.

which appears to be simple enough.  i’m sure someone has been here before.  they may have been there as well as here too.  really, there’s no telling when they were here, although there have been attempts to leave a mark, a path let’s say, to there (or here.)  i read that somewhere (somewhere is a there, just as it is a here.)

reading takes you there, away from here, but yet you remain here while doing it, unless of course, you are traveling, then you are everywhere.  reading does that to a person.  it may be our only form of time travel (or not, not if one believes that you are here & there, which would then make you omniscient, another possibility that we often deny ourselves.)

denial.  also a part of here & there.  it is tiring (perhaps trying as well, just as i may be to some of you now,)  so many possibilities to here & there.   & their meaning, the depth of their meaning is limitless.  should that be a question?  the limitless of their meaning, i mean.

questions.  also part of here & there.   what if?  what if you could be here & there at once?  what if there were no future because it exists now, you’re just not there yet as you are here (& there, but not ready to commit to both here & there?)   this, then, is both.


untitled (in the post-modern tradition)

this story begins in the middle.

and although it is a middle, even it’s future is  in the past.

what is that worth to you; to know that this middle is just that?

no one knows that it is a middle.

least of all those whose story we are about to share with you.

you can only imagine how it might feel, if when living your life, the narrator suddenly stopped telling your story & turned to you & said, “this is the middle of your life.”


what we leave behind (how i see it)

Here’s how it goes when my uncle answers the phone, “Hi, Ralph, it’s Robert, how’s it going?”  “Oh, good, I was just shaving.”  That’s what he’s been saying to me for about 8 months now since he was separated from his wife and moved into a facility for people with Alzheimer’s.  Always with the shaving, no matter the time of day.  Now, it’s possible that he IS shaving, I’m not saying he’s not, but what I expect is that he’s not shaving, but it is something he remembers doing and it seems conversational.  He’s always willing to talk though and I imagine him standing there with the phone to one ear, smudged with shaving cream and a wet razor in the other hand dripping water onto the floor by the phone in the kitchen (or wherever he has it.)

I haven’t seen him since he and his wife, Marie (number two — I adore her,) moved away from their home in Santa Barbara to be closer, first to her children, but then when it became apparent that Marie could not handle his spiraling dementia (downward, downward,) that his son (my cousin) came & took him back to Rapid City to live in a residential facility that works with and cares for those so afflicted.

It’s been a wrenching few months; Marie completely despondent over the loss; Ralph, at first, angry & threatening to “get on a bus” and go back to (not Marie) but California, but gradually accepting the change & settling into a routine of daily walks (he’s not gotten lost yet, Rapid City is his hometown after all.)  But I worry.

I worry that all that’ll be left of him (and eventually me) is just, nothing.  How can that be?  After a life well-lived, to have nothing (not even your memory) survive you.  (I’ll leave the dynamics of his and my relationship with his son for another time, but know that there is no love lost — although there is some confusion on my part; I mean, we’re in our 50s for god’s sake, what could possibly be so wrong about who I am at this point in his life?)

<Deep sigh> Regardless, without the accolades of a life in the limelight, we’re not even a footnote to the times.   As individuals we end our lives a part of a historical trend as reviewed 100 years from now.  Ick (it’s the best word I could come up with to describe my feelings right now–not dissertation worthy, I know,  but that’s nothing I’ll ever have to worry about.)  We have our little memory-starters (photos, tschotkes,) but those only matter to a few of us & when we’re gone, they’re just a problem for those left behind.  It’s not like we’re leaving a Mona Lisa or a War and Peace behind us (at least not yet.)

But does the now of our lives have any meaning or will only its past as seen through the scrim of time & judged by strangers resonate with a future generation?  All this typing & photoshopping & digital legerdemain as ephemeral as gossamer wings, but here we (I) sit, moving my 8 fingers & 2 thumbs along a keyboard, letters appearing like the ace of hearts in the hand of a off-street Las Vegas magician (an occasional flub, backspace) & presto! words appear their meaning unclear until the entire thought is expressed, if ever.

& all these thoughts, sentences, paragraphs, photographs, drawings, scribblings, mementos, detritus from this life, what are they if not an attempt to leave something behind, something that says I lived for something, I meant something to someone,  somehow defying ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

My uncle does not live for the future any longer.  He only lives in the moment, the past unclear & appearing unbidden & inconveniently causing confusion and anger (without being able to question it.)  My story will end with me.  The accumulation of my history with its family, friends, memories, will end with me.   That is a fact I can live with.



Twitter Updates

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

Copyright notice

© Robert Patrick, and Cultivar, 2008-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, photographs and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Robert Patrick and Cultivar with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

%d bloggers like this: