at 4:20

it’s ironic,
what the clock says
shouting and inexorable
without words.
the dazed and hazed
love that time…4:20.
i don’t know why,
the stuff they love
is just substance of illusions
in smoky vaporous air.

I’ve been up since 2:40,
and all I can think of is
how shuffling numbers
is so easy, and
everyone calls it different…

but that seltzer?
the one on the table,
left from last nite’s
waiting out the number changes
until it was time
to lay in bed awhile and
exercise my blinking muscles?
well, it’s still there,
and flat.

in the back hall i discovered
that my bike’s rear tire
was flat too,
so i repaired it,
examining inner tube,
looking for holes and patching
in that rough and sticky moment
of sandpaper and glue.

i think about you.

and i think about
the patches on my soul,
it’s unwieldy surface
littered with those bumps
and orange edges and
scratched surfaces from
the methods needed to
make the fix stick…

and it’s still serviceable,
i guess, but i will need
a new one soon.
easy enough, just
buy one with money…
this one is still inflatable,
still pushes out tread
and fills sidewalls and
rolls on the road miles and miles
over rocks and nails
and miles…

but rides,
exhilarating or sweaty
eventually end up
in the back hall,
in the moment called 4:20

(or 2:40, or anything, pick a number
it’ll flip over and come up illusion)

and like that seltzer half finished,
set aside because
(it couldn’t touch that thirst)
it’s flat.

i edited my blog some,
worked on some drafts of
poems that were bumpy and rough,
and found their song in the midst
and that made me cry,
seeing them unknot and unknit
and breathe again, no holes
save that one which they sing out of.

god, what if
life was a great
what if we
could open up
our editor and go back,
rewrite those
lines that went awry
unknot those
songs that choked,
patch those
rash tires flat,
share those
seltzers half drunk,
toasting ennui til every
drop was drained
and finished.

what if we could.

did i forget to mention
how i ran my fingers
round the inside of that tire
worn and used to be sure
what pierced it
was gone or removed?

(if you don’t do this you will just die on the same nail over and over)

anyway, i snagged them
bloody on glass
and screaming silent at 4:20.
but I got the culprit,
at least that one will
do none harm ever again,
that one will not
trouble the rough and bumpy
old patched tube.

so i got that going for me.

i hear those numbers
changing in the deafness
set upon us by the great sunder.
i think about my fingers
torn inside the tire
by the glass
and I think about my life,
a tire pierced and worn
over and again by glass,
by wire, by nail
and branch and bramble
and haunted by this
old and rough bumpy
tube patched and patched
and patched and…

i got blood on my keyboard
from that glass that
cut me.

i think it got onto this poem, too.

i think it stains, it colors
all things, i think
i view the world thru blood-stained glasses.

and then i think about
you again
and I blink my
eyes wet again
and i wait for
another day,
another ride,
another changing of the
numbers that all might as well be




17 thoughts on “at 4:20

  1. It has a strange confusion, that somehow feels still peaceful. Not sure if that is what you meant by it. I think the honest contemplation is very powerful and sobering. And I can see the link now to the next poem.


    • Ace…you are as always perceptive, but what I intend is not confusion, but rather an emerging awareness of vanity, and that under the sun there is nothing new, which results in (not confusion but) aimlessness…restlessness, as we pass the time here, waiting…waiting…

      It is the duets, and choruses of our lives that signify meaning: when the song of our heart is harmonious with that of others, and significance is born, something unique and special, and at once transcendent and transient…

      …and once that has been tasted? If those we shared it with are unavailable, absent, lost or even dead, then how tinny, how trite and derivative our song becomes…flat…like the seltzer half finished because it was not what we looked for…or flat like the tire from the glass, and every cyclist knows that flats are the way of things, even to brand new tires and tubes they will at last come…

      …thus the contrast of soul and tube, body and tire…

      Take these things…read thru again…and find the harmonics I built in here, they resonate when you hold them in your mind while reading “Our Tent on Two Trees”, or “Grace Ain’t Easy” or any other number of my poems on similar themes…”The Mist” is a similar perspective, but it is intentionally mindful of the life lived that is NOT the “life under the sun” but under a deeper sky and greater sun…

      “Sleeping Skin to Skin” considers these things as well…waiting to be born, birth, life which maybe is waiting to be…dying/or is it another womb, waiting as in the first stanza?

      I apologize if I have taken the curtain back too far…I write obtusely, sideways, with the direct blows cloaked in suns and rains and seltzers…and the seemingly head on blasts are just the Wizard, Oz the Great and Terrible who speaks from behind the curtain.

      Hey…I am clumsy, but interesting, right?

      Thanks for reading, and I am so happy to be knowing you, learning from you, though distance and age present seeming barriers our hearts leap together like hurdlers over the hedges in the joyful run of morning.

      Love, grace, and always joyful relish of your mind and zest,
      Charissa Grace

      • Of course, if that isn’t what you intended, I’m happy that you explained it to me. Sometimes, there are things only we can see in our own work, and feelings and significance that certain pieces hold only for us and no-one else. Any poet knows that, indeed any artist. So, I suppose I am not surprised that I saw it differently.

        But after you explained, I do see what you mean by that-we have a saying from a devotional song by Tyagaraja, that only birth and death are real, and everything else in between is just an illusion. The lesson there was to figure out what is truly important and not waste your time being aimless and restless. Is that more along the lines of what you meant by the vanity of life?

        Reading again with that in mind, the tone does change a lot, I think I can see the undercurrent you meant. I really do like the reflectiveness in it, and actually the general feel as well.

        Duets and choruses is a lovely way to put what we share with others-I think it very much depends on the person you are, whether that’s how you find happiness, and how you deal with the loss of that happiness. Not sure if that last bit made sense to you, but I hope it did. But at the same time, even though that happiness may come from being with other people, I feel that it’s so important to feel happy in your own company-alone, but not lonely, you know? As an only child, I’m very comfortable on my own, and that might seem like I’m an introvert or something, but I’m really not.

        I don’t think at all that you’ve pulled the curtain too far back-that’s the whole point of a blog, right? To say what you want to say-no need to apologise! Definitely interesting and hey, with all that imagery, I don’t think anyone would call you clumsy! After all, being poetic often involves being ‘obtuse’, as you put it-leaving the readers to read between the lines isn’t a bad thing at all.

        It’s been great talking and is certainly a learning experience for me, but I’m not sure what you could possibly learn from me!


        • You give food and drink you know not of, Ace…young, but so vital and so informing of the youth of my growing and changing heart.

          The vanity of life…you are right there, tracking. If you ever cared to, a man named Solomon wrote “there is nothing new under the sun”, and he also wrote the lyrics to a very famous pop song called “Turn, turn, turn”…if you google him, you will find out more of his writings, and more about the vanity of life.

          So glad you are home, my friend

  2. An illuminating “what if”:

    “god, what if
    life was a great
    what if we
    could open up
    our editor and go back,
    rewrite those
    lines that went awry
    unknot those
    songs that choked,
    patch those
    rash tires flat,
    share those
    seltzers half drunk,
    toasting ennui til every
    drop was drained
    and finished.

    what if we could.”

  3. “…at least THAT one will do none harm ever again…” I really jived with the melancholy of the “nothing new under the sun” hamster wheel that is life for us all…patching, no permanent “fixes” or pristine perfect states. Always deterioration and compensation and knowing full well this is life, so WHY MUST I ACHE for the thing I cannot have and will never achieve? That precious ache. Without it I’d be a hole-patching, duty-fulfilling automaton who never actually rode anywhere…I’d simply think my existence and purpose was to patch holes and nothing more. Could you help me understand 420?

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