“Why Don’t You Wear A Watch?” by Ace Boggess

 
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Sacramental (Idolatrous?) Figure by Hermann Beill, Prinzhorn Collection

 

Time demands, & I succumb
like an easy mark for backstreet hustlers.
No, I swear, I don’t want any,
but there I am again: checking the clock,
counting down to the next ending.
I’m a man who can’t wait,
resist a pull against the curtains
out of fear he’ll miss the squad cars
creeping like tanks up the narrow road.
Time talks down to me like I’m a child.
I listen, scared of its leather belt,
its blunt-force backhand stroke.
I must break myself of time’s bad habits
which are constant as a metronome
(I play along but can’t find rhythm).
I never want to check the hour again,
although I do, obsessed as any Ahab
measuring his world by ancient wounds.

✶✶✶✶

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Ace Boggess is author of three books of poetry, most recently Ultra Deep Field (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2017), and the novel A Song Without a Melody (Hyperborea Publishing, 2016). His writing has appeared in Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, River Styx, and many other journals. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia. He received a fellowship from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts and spent five years in a West Virginia prison.