Half A Second Out Of Time

Half A Second Out Of Time prose poem

Photo by born1945

Never, in all the pointless days I have worked here
Has the air ever been so dull and depressing
It tasted warm and metallicdisstopea
But not in a good way
I turned up early this morning
I mean, I hate being here, but it beats freezing in the tubes
They told us the “living quarters” would meet our needs
The tubes keep us alive, just
They did have heating once
But now they don’t
Nothing we can do about it
I’m not complaining, it’s better than being outside
I think
I wouldn’t know, never really been
I don’t care though, don’t have to
Don’t want to
It’s best really, not to care
About outside
Other people
Your life
You get the hang of it after a while
It’s easy
You just look after the machine, and not do anything else
Not care about anything else
Not think about anything else
Just not anything else
Otherwise it would be a distraction
And it’s simpler that way, or so we’re told
No one really believes it
But we do it anyway
Because there’s nothing else to do
I am startled by a sudden loud metallic thumping sound
It gets louder and faster until both noise and speed are constant
The machine is waking up
Now other parts of it start coming to life
All different sounds of pounding and hissing
All at the same pace, they fit in to each other
I like that
I often wonder what the machine is for
All they told us is that it is important, and that we need to keep it running
So we do
It doesn’t matter anyway
Nothing really matters
I know how the machine should work and I know how to fix it
That is all I need to know
That is all I should know
That is all I do know
But they can’t stop me from wondering
And it’s days like this that I start to wonder what the purpose of the machine actually is
And why I need to fix it
I mean, why I really need to fix it
Sometimes, I look around at what is my one reason for living
And I’m convinced that there has to be something more than this
More than fixing broken parts and then waiting for them to break again
Feeling rather depressed and generally unsatisfied with my existence
I decide to try and clear my head
I walk across the metal ground
Cautious of where I step in the dim, cost-efficient red light
The only light
It flashes half a second out of time with the machinery
Nothing I can do about it
I continue to walk
The light continues to flash
Still out of time
Still nothing I can do
The machine starts to pound louder
I can feel my heart beating in time with it
Or is it just in my head
My head
It’s pounding
Stupid red flashing light, you’re giving me a migraine
‘STOP FLASHING!’ I shout at it
It continues to flash
My head continues to pound
The machine continues to work with an intense, overwhelming power
And the light
The light is STILL out of time
I want to scream in frustration
I hate that light
And it will never stop flashing
It will never stop flashing half a second out of time

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