Ticker Tape Parade

sample-returnSnow-globe scraps dust the traders’ city canyon,
Wall Street forgetting ticker tape, but not yet
The razzamatazz of a returned Apollo.
A ‘Sixty-nine open-top for Buzz and Neil and Mike,
Following Eight’s Frank and Jim and Bill,
All the way to the moon and back again.

Slide down and ease into slower space,
Resynch and frame each fiftieth
With a single bullet beat smudge struck through
A tiny disc spun from the ticker-tape Carboniferous.
Smear a dark dot past on the pulled-through paper ribbon
To rise and wait an age to fall again.
Classroom physics still dotting with nineteenth century coms
Movement with time, to time changes in space.

Today I am pushing out paces back to the office,
Through the South Street morning lull.
Swerving slightly to avoid a man almost standing.
Glancing back in a passing stride to register
Two prescription metal walking sticks
That strike the pavement in a regular rhythm,
Close to mine in time, more than one strike in a second,
Constant click-clicks, one-two, one-two.

In my one passing stride we synchronise,
His two inch stretch, briefly in phase with my easy haste.
It is bright but cold, and a hood conceals his face,
But I see his jaw is clenched, his purpose set.
Moving for him is chillier than my hop-skip holocene
He must suit-up tight and remain well happit, or falter, fail and freeze.

From another morning’s double period
Computation clicks in to annotate and estimate:
How many beats per minute, how many inches, how far is that?
Fifty ticks per second is buzzing in my ear.
He is behind me now and out of sight.
How far is his destination?
How long will the day’s journey take,
To dot dot dot a determined mile of tape?

With a Victorian exposure-time shuttering the street
I would blur, or even vanish, forgotten in lapsed urgency,
But he would remain seen and steadfast,
Visibly shifting steady paces through alternative time.
Does his attention wander as he inches
Daily footfalls? His small steps are far from easy.
Organising and measuring the best of him,
To accept and walk and win,
His chosen dot dot expedition,
Sample and safe return.

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About stevedsmart

Steve Smart is an information designer, poet and artist. View all posts by stevedsmart

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