Header PostFeaturedImage 10

Theories of Time and Space by Natasha Trethewey

How do we experience memory? How do we sit with the things that have happened to us vis-a-vis how we remember them? How is memory different from history, and how do we separate the threads of what we know and what we’ve learned?

Is home a place we make, or a place we go back to, and what is the difference?

And what about remembering?

Years ago, M. and I corresponded about the connection between time and water. I wrote, I have always thought that time was both a stream and a waterfall. An endless body of water that connects like Escher’s stairs. Sometimes everything is calm, and then you somehow reach the end and you get this rush, this fright, and you plunge and you scream and you fall, and then you realize it’s not the end, that it is beginning, again.

Perhaps time is a place, too. Perhaps a burial ground, or an attic, or a bodega of transient things. I’ve lost things to time. Perhaps myself.

Theories of Time and Space
Natasha Trethewey

You can get there from here, though
there’s no going home.

Everywhere you go will be somewhere
you’ve never been. Try this:

head south on Mississippi 49, one-
by-one mile markers ticking off

another minute of your life. Follow this
to its natural conclusion—dead end

at the coast, the pier at Gulfport where
riggings of shrimp boats are loose stitches

in a sky threatening rain. Cross over
the man-made beach, 26 miles of sand

dumped on the mangrove swamp—buried
terrain of the past. Bring only

what you must carry—tome of memory,
its random blank pages. On the dock

where you board the boat for Ship Island,
someone will take your picture:

the photograph—who you were—
will be waiting when you return.

This is from Native Guard by Natasha Trethewey, published by Mariner Books, 2007.

Comments (3)

  • Susan Hansen

    She was my college poetry professor. I love this poem. 🙂

  • Briana

    From New Album & Film “The Seeker”

    “The Time Machine Invention”

    This is the story of my time machine invention.
    It’s not perfect, cuz I’m not that bright.
    We walk our days with the best of intentions,
    But when I screw things up, I wanna go back and make ‘em right. Yup.
    Yeah, I’m a believer in mind over matter.
    And I’ve made my mind up to travel in time.
    Restart the days, and I’ll do it so much better.
    I waste so much time a worryin’ I forgot to live my life. Yup.
    I’m not going anywhere ‘til I’m back to where it was we were before.
    I don’t need anything except always needing just a little more.
    I run in circles so I can kick me in the pants.
    There’s a reason God is doG backwards: we must chase the tail.

    The truth is my invention refuses to go backwards.
    A tiny glitch I’m sure to figure out.
    But I can ride on the moment slowly time travelling forwards
    So the next destination is always right now.

    I’ve finally solved the puzzle of my time machine invention.
    You see, in the future, this present is the past, so
    If you give this moment your fullest attention
    We’ll just keep going forwards with no need for going back.

  • Where did you say this? I’m sure this is where “Time is the opposite of an anchor” was born from. I’d like to go back to this correspondence. Can you link me to it?


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.