I am usually up before the alarm. It blares at 0430hrs. In the minutes before, I time travel to different parts of the day. From the immediate dark of the house to the fading dark of a roadside to the dawn light of my walk to work to the noon day sun of my afternoon walk to the fading light of my home commute to the dark as I reach for the door.
Sometimes, I sit up and check the alarm and it’s hours later. I can’t think of how I couldn’t have heard the alarm. The clock hasn’t lost a minute. Its batteries are working. The alarm is working as well.
I suspect that there are days I return worn from my travels and reach out with my left hands to switch the alarm clock off moments before it rings, letting my tired self get two more hours of sleep. It just might be that as I time travel through my day,my alter ego teleports into my morning and switches off the alarm. I will stick with the first explanation.
Mine. That’s where I–mine. I tunnel to the ore. I dig into the vein. I launch down the shaft. I bring up the substance.
For a while, I hunted with a metal detector. I had the rod, the pouch, turned switches to power the line. I had the headset so I could make out the whine.
I could do it with robots. I could do it with a pick axe. I could have labourers. I could use energetic expenders. Most is made, some is built. In order to be steered it has to be crewed.
In the smelter, bright yellow flows like a stream. A patchwork of moulds shapes flows into bars. I stack them into giant goatskin bags. That’s more than one. And I need a few more for this mine.
Slammed the bolt! I was two steps to out-side. Load on my back. Non-marking squeaks on the tiles. Pavement was wet?
Thunder growled and down fell the skies! I beat a retreat to snatch an umbrella. If it wasn’t going to shine, I would want to do the commute together.
Back outside, it was all quiet. I could hear the wind scoff at the umbrella carrying guy striding up the hill while watching the clouds glide.
If the umbrella is baggage, I have a two piece. While I rubbed my heels on the rain peppered tarmac, I saw a glint of sunlight behind a distant grey cloud turning white.
They came over the hill, lights flashing. They chased the car I was in through the valley. They fell back on the slope.
We all had to slow down next to the straight: a traffic choke point. My ride was the first through and off to the races. Halfway through the straights, I saw them again.
In my mind’s eye, they sped past us, took a slight left and were never seen again. Through the split panes we got farther and farther away.
We took the slight left first. Through the sweeping turns, along another straight, up another hill, down another hill and on the final straight, they were no where to be seen. I stopped looking over my shoulder.
In a seat by the window, I was trying to watch pedestrians and the snaking metal barrier at the same time. Up until this moment, the speed had been steady. I heard the downshift. The car went left.
I saw it. A six wheeler carrying logs. Tires like worn footballs. There was no cover on the back. The logs just lay on each other. Packed tightly with a couple of sisal ropes. If the truck braked suddenly…if it sped up for some reason…if the ropes snapped…if the driver had to swerve….
The logs were hanging off the edge. The car sped up past the lorry. I laughed. On its windshield a decal: ” JEREMIAH 29:11″.
A foot from the line, I am on my own. Wind swept, I stand, as I watch the branches flap. I should be cold. The wind is slightly warm. Elbow. Knee. Neck. Twitching.
It looks like it could be a sunny day. Clouds, can you come back another day? Sun come shine. Smile at the blue sky. Do jumping jacks across the sky.
It’s been dry a precious few days. I don’t miss the mud. I don’t mind the dust. Sweat stings my eyes each time I walk a while. In the quiet hours, I wish for cold. It will come soon enough.
Grey clouds hung low in a dark sky that May morning. I could have sworn the howling wind whispered of a storm coming. While trudging up a dusty road, steeled against the wind, I stopped at the tarmac and watched the clouds roll in.
A little later I was watching the weather while waiting for a taxi. Up the hill, the clouds stood still. Down the hill, the clouds covered the distant hills. The blink of cellphone towers was covered. The twinkle of red and yellow lights fell under a grey spell.
The clouds in the distance and the clouds over me did not meet. In between, fingers of sunshine walked across the hills and stood over the road before walking back over the hills. When the birds started to sing, I knew there would be no storm.
Brow furled around those with fisticuffs to throw. Would pay them any mind if I didn’t mind the cost anymore. Too high and too dear, these precious pennies teleport out of my pocket so rewarding certain antics is like electrocuting a socket.
I wear my peace like a locket. Closer to the sternum than closer to the chest. Just right of my heart and at the centre of my chest. I can no longer take too many things to heart. I only get to choose so many hurts. The rest snatch at me— like muscle spasms.
The pricks of life hit like a swarm of lake flies. They taste slimy; very unlike fries. I keep a constant check on where my confidence lies. I wouldn’t want to be blown about by the breeze under clear skies.
I stay silent on days they shout. I watch my ways and I watch my tongue. I could start fires but it’s more fun to watch them instead. I stay connected to my rest; I stay in it’s stead.
Along with the headaches. Along with the joys. Along with the aches. Along with the cakes. Not by the ocean. Not by the lakes. Not in the real world. The real world of my dreams. Along with the visions. Along with the thoughts. Alongside my mind’s eye is my posture on incline.
I steel myself for the days. As I have a lot less time to steal from my days. I make time to hear crickets and snatch at the sounds that carry from the town. I pause to hear my breath. A dog barks. A child calls. A car lock chimes. A motor cycle drones. A bed squeaks. An engine stops. A clock ticks. A day ends.
I was the last in the second last row. One in each of the two rows in front of me and one next to the driver.
The fourteen seater pulled out of the parking lot, eased into the afternoon traffic and drifted through the roundabout and short straight before crawling through the interchange. It gunned to highway speed on the on ramp and shot down the highway.
I take this trip hundreds of times a year. Just not with as much space. In a few instances, FM radio and mixtapes serenade the captive audience. This time it was just the growl of the engine with snatches for breath when the gears switched.
Just after the exit ramp, the passenger in the row in front of me asked to be let out at the market. I stepped out and slid the passenger door shut as I winced in the heat. The passenger van growled, leapt back onto the road and sprinted out of sight.