On Poetry

Escape into Time

Escape Into Time by Peter J. Grippe. An abstract engraving.

Escape into Time

Back where the start was
in time I came to feel, before
or without any basic understanding,
the hands holding me down
wanted likewise to reassure me
there was no place other
than right where I was kept:
chair, table, void-side window

overlooking the nothingness
and the hands that held me there
must have held me without
understanding in time
I would come to feel to keep me
implied other places must likewise
exist, otherwise what
was I kept from to begin with,

and by extension, everywhere
apart from where the hands
congealed into one
comprehensive elsewhere, all time
not the present became one time,
and even though deprived
of any movement not a form
of leaning forward, nonetheless

I arrived at the border of
all other places, every time
at once, so to hold out my hand
would bring it no closer
to the garment of my caretaker
than to the first ever garment
of its kind, or to the hand
manufacturing it, or to the hand

of a godhead etching into stone,
a stone rolled back from the mouth
of a tomb, or the radiated
mouth of a painter of clock faces
whispering shapes in the void
become figures as the ore
rises up from its valley in Colorado
where a dirt road into the endless

distance erases itself as I too
will erase myself when I take it
the way I always have
reverberating inwardly, a machine
through time, each future
historical, and I am traveling
back where the start was
not yet waiting for me all along.

This poem is reprinted from Art in Print.

The November-December 2018 issue focuses on the relationship between poetry and the printed image, including works by William Blake, Blaise Cendrars, Augusto de Campos, Martin Wong, Deryn Rees-Jones and Kate Wakeling as well as new poems from Mary Jo Bang, Timothy Donnelly, Mónica de la Torre, Major Jackson and others.

Image Credit: Peter J. Grippe (American, 1912-2002). Escape Into Time, 1946. Engraving.

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