Time – less

Matthew Henningsen's The Literary Doc

Still moments beyond memory see
An old woman, fumbling for keys,
At the very top of
Unlit, creaky wooden steps.

While a young man wakes up
In a panic sweat, cold and hard,
And hears: the wind tapping
On cold car windows

Outside, where a woman drops
A quarter that no one finds.

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10 thoughts on “Time – less

  1. B. E. Adalgari May 26, 2016 / 8:50 pm

    The images you chose here capture well the feelings of existential loneliness and bitter isolation. I especially ADORE your last image of the woman dropping a quarter no one will find. There’s an almost surreal air to this piece. It reminds me a bit of a Murakami novel…


  2. scotthastiepoet May 26, 2016 / 9:24 pm

    I agree – the dropping of a coin that no-one finds has real power as a poetic metaphor. Goos stuff Matthew.


  3. Grace May 26, 2016 / 9:45 pm

    Admiring the sparse but well chosen words to describe the old woman, in contrast to the young man ~ The brushstroke of your pen is light but very well done ~


  4. thotpurge May 27, 2016 / 1:00 am

    Those three distinct images seem to merge and convey a kind of despair…love it!


  5. Walt Wojtanik May 27, 2016 / 1:39 am

    There is a consciousness to this that borders the macabre. Expecting Mr. Serling to make an appearance at the foot of the stairs! Superb Matthew!


  6. Star May 27, 2016 / 2:49 am

    I think the title means that they are all three out of time. You are describing their last moments alive.

    In the last stanza, I think you’re saying that the woman drops … and that she herself IS the quarter. She is worth something, even if relatively less than other human denominations. Regardless, no one ever discovered her worth.

    Also, we flip coins to determine heads or tails. But if the coin goes unseen, then we are unsure about outcomes. This ends on a spiritual note, to me.

    The man is homeless, I think … maybe living in his car or maybe sleeping in a parking lot … in either case, freezing.

    The first woman is about to fall off the stairs.

    All are alone. Dying alone.

    The quarter also represents provision, which is there, ostensibly enough for all, but not when it isn’t “found”… offered or shared. And provision isn’t always monetary. Sometimes it’s a touch or sign of love that we need. When these aren’t shared, we really are just all dying alone, even if it’s happening slowly.


  7. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) May 27, 2016 / 4:14 am

    These moments that seem insignificant, my mind still try to fit a narrative to it. The knocking can seem ominous but really it could be a coincidence.


  8. lillian May 27, 2016 / 12:25 pm

    Your imagery freezes still moments in my mind — and then the coin is dropped, untended, forgotten, unseen. Wonderful write!


  9. hayesspencer May 30, 2016 / 3:00 am

    Glad I stopped by again. Found my comment did not post for some reason. I really enjoyed this. I like this existential style/words. An old woman fumbling for keys, a coin dropped and never found….so much loneliness in this but written in such a way that makes one think rather than feeling cloyed.


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