Notebook #1  from The Notebooks (of Being & Time)
Hank Lazer


le thé des écrivains     7” x 8 ¾”    

(purchased: Paris, May 2006)


I am beginning to think

that duration     a given duration

for now

might be a solution,

edging out into an evening, a day, a year.

With sinuous intent or lack of shape

deliberate as the year’s invisible

architecture.  A reality of that

complexity, eluding any agreed upon

set of descriptions.

Invisible river     time the stream     I

And   wade in the water

And   God’s gonna trouble the waters


Not so much the meaning of time as acquiring

a feeling for it.  One’s given medium, the mystery

of being in it with little sense of what it is.

Inexorable.  Unaccountable.  Nothing but a counting up.

How quickly we slip past any awareness of it.

If the poem is long enough it begins to acquire a time

all its own.  How time presents itself as a question.  Philosophy

more often than not is not musical.  Percussion

marks one kind of time.  Body the proper site

for sighting time.  What is it that is in time?

Already in time you come to a thinking of it.

You cannot hold it up or out for inspection, though there is

nothing else you can do, being in it, is to inspect it.


If you rise at dawn to meditate

If the day takes on certain properties

Time as the horizon     We have landed    We are

already there     If upon entering the word-space

as tangible as the entering cold front the wind

& cool air     motion so manifest through the dipping

pine branches     Witness to the incremental & the natural

temptation to lean on anecdote as a measuring stick

But it is the very invisibility the indistinctness that is

the story     restless as it is

Months the hummingbirds visit     Ask the cardinal

the indigo bunting the bluebird     Time is color


I am the data      Let me look into it   & I will

report back to you

I walked out into the

mystic garden.  Already too much has happened.

Bow to the governing nothingness

which is another name for time.

Unless you awaken to the strangeness of time

its radical unfamiliarity its hidden invisibility

the life of an ontologist will make no sense.

To track what you already are in.

Sitting on a black cushion before a blank wall

counting breaths as a way to enter into

a feel for the miracle of time.  By dimming the vision

we begin to see it.  By counting & following the succession

of breaths   we begin to feel it     

  to calibrate

its animating strength.


Kin as I am to an earthquake in Hawaii.

Coffee alters my relationship to time.  So too

the fall flowers     the last bloomings before the first

frost    before the leaves change color    before the grass

turns a dormant brown.     It is not though the seasons

that  concern me.  I want to know when are the seasons

felt as something personal & finite     as part of a limited

countdown    felt as a savored particularity.    Again,

the fact of being      the fact of time      not the object not

the what in time     but the medium itself    known through

its objects.

        And where     most of the time     are brother &

sister      being & time     if not    behind you    or just out

of view    in the other room     or somewhere else waiting

for you to call.     They   no doubt   would have

their own questions to put to you.    They will.     They

will sketch them slowly upon your body until you

notice them.

        And that invisibility is an essential

aspect of its ingenious construction.  So that we live

within it     are it     & only rarely feel it or reflect

upon it    or investigate it.

      It will be slow going

writing  reading  thinking  along through Heidegger’s Being & Time

a book published the same year that Babe Ruth hit

60 homers.

        There is a dead virginia pine just beyond the back

fence.  My fourteen year old dog is going deaf.  My six year old

granddaughter is having an American Idol birthday party.  I like

them     but I have no faith in anecdotes.

I take it back.

I’m sure this preponderance of an abstract seemingly pointless

set of speculations becomes its own reductive mimesis

aping an invisible & amorphous time.

Lyn’s Comedy showed me

a way to have no form.    And so I took off.

Narrative presents

one small element of time’s story.

      Let’s face it; most of it

does not become a story.       End of subject.

  An earth

quake a snow storm a gorgeous fall day     a memorial

symposium for the wondrous robert creeley

now there’s somebody

who felt time’s variable metric     & mastered its lineation

or at least the primary stutter steps     the hesi

tations & a kind of thinking happening staccato

like a bebop sax solo

Do you expect

to hear a cog of the sky


The aphorism

on the other hand

brings time


to an enforced temporary halt.

And thus conclusion

forfeits any credible relation

to time.


rain a day of steady gray is this

time’s drizzled medium something no wonder

we cannot wake up from


It will begin again

with or without you

so you may be the cork bobbing

along the stream rush

or not.  The old dog stumbles out

of the garage.  A group of blue-garbed

hospital workers laugh around a circular

table eating & passing

dishes of Chinese food.  Outside

it rains steadily.  How would you

impose specific meaning here?

Resting upon narrative

Leaning upon anecdote

All I care about

is that window

When I can feel its presence

When I can begin again

to see through it

As if

you were a subject

being touched upon



Late afternoon clearing crisp blue fall sky I

sit    reading

itself a fading art form

while my eighteen year old son & his friend

watch a Japanese animé film

left to him by a former student of mine

who is now in Kyoto studying.  The very thin

asparagus came from Peru.  The wild coho salmon

perhaps from Alaska.  Has the nature of time

changed fundamentally from what Heidegger was

tracking?  Or merely the props, the accoutrements,

& the medium of our engagement in it?


And so the occurring & the being present

already take place

      as in this writing or this instance

(not instant!) in which you & i take part

    in this passing

back & forth.  Or, quite simply, we gather here.

As one of the many unremembered poets

put it

shall we gather at the river.

There is no “trying to say”

The captain

checks the manifest.  You are on board.  We

head out.