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

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.



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.