Three (Fictional) Grooves On (Real) Advice

by Thomas Brett

It takes as long as it takes.

1.
That was her advice to me.
Take your time–meaning:
don’t go slow per se,
but move at just the right cadence and clip,
claim the time, make it yours,
grasp its contours, bring it with you,
take it somewhere, play with it
and examine its parts,
unravel and lay it flat
to plot its geographies,
stretch and fold it over itself,
wrapping experiences to keep them fresh.

2.
“That’s a fine bit of advice”
so says my inner voice,
“but I think you’re running out of time.
Best get going now, get on track,
get with the flow,
as long as you feel the current,
nothing like right now
for that’s why they call it the present.
“That’s a fine bit of advice”–
my inner worrier speaks
a truth as seen from the outside, and yet
are not looming deadlines and such
about as real as those heat waves up ahead
that disappear
in the time it takes to reach them?

3.
Student: “Teacher, how long
until I can produce a sound like yours?”
Teacher: “It takes as long as it takes.”
Student: “And why do you move
your hands like so
after you hit the drum,
for surely the sound
has already sounded?”
Teacher: “It takes the sound
on a journey off of the drum
and outwards to hearts and ears.”
Student: “And tell me,
do you keep time
with your body or your mind?”
Teacher: “I keep it with both.
And my counting is a way to notice
the many things passing
through the time of the music.”
Student: “But I need more moments to take this all in!”
Teacher: “You have all the time
that you need.”

It takes as long as it takes.

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