In Search of Lost Time

One thing we cannot recover is time.

Perhaps that’s what I have been trying to do.

   Perhaps that’s what every writer, as a fugitive stalker, as a heartsick orphan, as the fool-hero in their own movie is trying to do.

   In this respect, the pen is merciful, an instrument of reprieve, and allows for a mortal claim and stake in something that belongs, by nature, to ephemera. That which is solvent becomes ours, even if only in specious residue and filmy imprints.

   We take what we can, do what we can, give ourselves what we must. It is the stubby and insistent roots of love. We are all heartsick orphans. What we yearn to fuse and unionize with has a different spin for everyone, a different look or feel or say, different bends in cursive, but in the end, and in the true center, it is all the same. All roads lead to a much larger heaven than our poor, deficient, mirage-making brains can imagine.

   Hope is not a thing with feathers. It is a thing completely and utterly outside our caste system of notions and concepts. Its picture has never ever appeared in the gilded corridors of hierarchy, its image has never ever been a cheesecake pin-up on a glossy cover. Hope is a featherless cry, a vamp that clothes itself in light.

   I cannot recover time. But as a writer, I am plagued to try. It is a diseased and fevered quest, also a happy and self-actualizing one. It is many things. I am many things. The imagination is a cosmic millipede with an unaccountable siege of legs. It is a cosmic millipede with hallowed pillars for legs and moon-disc lanterns for eyes. That is imagination.

   There is always something to mourn. We know this. There is always something to praise. We know this too. Mourning and praise, beauty and sadness. These are the cornerstones of life, of reality, of living. Inseparable tandems that cannot be bested, ignored, exempted, forgotten. They are the lighted kernels of omnipresence, the fibrous ravels. It doesn’t matter what you believe or how you believe or who you believe. Mourning and praise, beauty and sadness, will always be with you as teachers, guides, lovers, catalysts, celebrants, fledglings. Not only can you not step in the same river twice, but you also can never be the same person who steps in that river.

   One thing we cannot recover is time. And yet writers, consciously or un, set themselves this impossible task, this grail’s quest, because a sense of purpose dictates our place within our own stories, within the context of a larger narrative.

   In the end, it will have been like moving sand from one hand to another, alternating grains between palms in a sort of meditative game or hypnotic dance.

   In the summer the sand is warm. In the winter the sand is cold. Sometimes a strong wind will blow the sand out of your hands. Other times you will wet the sand and turn it into mud.

   All of this and other phenomena will occur. The sand is guaranteed to slip through your mortal fingers, giving you an opportunity to mourn and praise. Beauty and sadness is your birthright, and a grievous gateway to amen.

Photo by Josef Sudek

About John Biscello

Originally from Brooklyn, NY, writer, poet, performer, and playwright, John Biscello, has lived in the high-desert grunge-wonderland of Taos, New Mexico since 2001. He is the author of four novels, Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale, Raking the Dust, Nocturne Variations, and No Man’s Brooklyn; a collection of stories, Freeze Tag, two poetry collections, Arclight and Moonglow on Mercy Street; and a fable, The Jackdaw and the Doll, illustrated by Izumi Yokoyama. He also adapted classic fables, which were paired with the vintage illustrations of artist, Paul Bransom, for the collection: Once Upon a Time, Classic Fables Reimagined. His produced, full-length plays include: LOBSTERS ON ICE, ADAGIO FOR STRAYS, THE BEST MEDICINE, ZEITGEIST, U.S.A., and WEREWOLVES DON’T WALTZ.
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