:: Article

Frozen Ropes

By Tony Oats.

Drawing by Louise Bourgeois

Frozen Ropes

Shut up listen ‘cuz I’m not done,

And I know you got more to say but you aren’t saying it
you aren’t saying shit you’re wasting my time you’re wasting
you’re time you’re wasting OUR time,

Time flies like a banana, you said.
Fruit flies like river, I say.

What did D.C. Williams say?

Time flows or flies or marches, years roll, hours pass,
Time flows by like a river with the flotsam of events upon it; no…
time is a moving picture film, unwinding from the dark reel of the future, into the dark can of the past.
Or maybe it’s is a plain or ocean on which we voyage,
or a river gorge down which we drift;
maybe it’s a row of house fronts along which the spotlight of the present plays.
What did Santayana say?
“The essence of nowness runs like a fire along the fuse of time.”

But wait, you said that was all bullshit it was false cuz time is a frozen fucking rope and
take your time cuz you aren’t going anywhere you aren’t changing you’re stuck. You’re fucked. You said.

Is this how it is Mr. Atkins?  You say

We have looked through the window onto the world,
that window of the Second Law,
And we’ve seen the purposelessness of it all.
The deep structure of change, you say, is decay;
the spring of change in all its forms is the corruption of energy, you say.
You say
it’s corrupting all as it spreads, chaotically, irreversibly, without purpose.

You say
All change and time’s arrow point to corruption.
You say
The experience of time is the gearing of the processes in our brains,
It’s gearing them to this purposeless drift
it’s gearing them into chaos as we sink into equilibrium and the grave, you say

And yes I heard you but this ain’t no frozen fuckin’ rope.

YOU said decay,
And YOU said corruption,
And YOU said drift

Frozen ropes don’t decay and frozen ropes don’t drift and you cannot corrupt them.
They. Just. are.

And you can go on and on but know this, YOU’VE changed.  YOU’RE corrupt.  YOU’RE adrift. And that’s good news for you, homes.

Cuz it means you ain’t no frozen fuckin’ rope.

And ok. Now I’m done.


Tony Oats lives in Bushwick, New York, with zir cryptokitties Salvador Beachnut Sizzzz and Tangerine Cream.  Ze writes poetry about can openers, blenders, and the philosophy of time.  Ze does not write prose, except in anger. Contact: tonyoats99@gmail.com


First published in 3:AM Magazine: Thursday, March 1st, 2018.