“Time as a Sort of Enemy” by Tyler Dempsey


Who has not asked himself at some time or other:  am I a monster or is this what it means to be a person?

Clarice Lispector


Voice of turmoil—arguing, suggesting. Reading, the voice isn’t mine. I’d tire. Who is it? Who the hell is it?


Time: wandering.


Past—winds lap granite. You arcing forward. Denuded islands preach violent history.

Few things as appetizing to man.




“Look. Changing with my help.”

“Bending you.”


Emotions, the ocean. Your essence, currents. Pluck you from them.

Who controls water?


Doubt be feathers; voice, wings.



I pursue—

Scraps of journal, pencil, erasure. Failures: horse I ride.


Song scattered. Surf, choppy. Ocean, ocean.

Judgement, four seasons. Salt, wave-back.


Over and over.

“Are we characters?”



Surround you. Sharks circle. Sunburned, screaming.

“Where were you?”

“Kona. Toulouse. Salt Lake. Melbourne.”

“Who were you—Phoebe?”


Nature: wandering.


Night city. Eat; dark ointment. The spell, blamelessness.


Call you names better lost. Inwardly you rejoice—a new part of me.


“What’s wrong?”

“You said.”

“I didn’t.”

“You did.”


“You’re no fucking man.”



The sea


Lavender, steel.



Think of you. Your heart: horizon consumed by light.


“Who I’m searching for.”

“I want to be Him.”

“I’ll show you.”


Tyler Dempsey was a finalist in Glimmer Train and New Millennium Writings competitions. His work is forthcoming in Soft Cartel and appears in X—R-A-Y Literary Magazine, Five:2:One Magazine, Buck Off Magazine, Wilderness House Literary Review, and The 3288 Review, amongst others.

Find him on Twitter @tylercdempsey or at:http://tylerdempseywriting.com.

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