This Time Machine Goes One Way, Marc Janssen

Charles Hood, Nyet Swimming




Everything ends you know, everything, yes
The Pacific exhales on the shore
Sends old men scrambling, the kites to sky
Don’t ask why when the wave slinks back homeward
Why birds have to fly and never return
Nests set in eaves cool and abandoned
That may be the way it is with us
Birds fly to the end of the world you know,
And sing a song their parents never heard

Marc Janssen


Review by Vyarka Kozareva

Time is incessant, independent, uncontrollable.

Not susceptible to a strict definition, an elusive/illusive medium in which people (as part of all existing creatures) enter and exit— too touching in their minimality, too questionable in their ambitions.


Review by Joe Bisicchia

One can almost feel the breeze upon the Pacific Northwest coastline as Marc Jannsen crafts his words. The 2020 nominee for Oregon Poet Laureate has a way of translating nature into the depths of human meaning. In this poem, one can feel the ocean exhale as if the inevitable last breath we all shall take. From how far in time did that breath travel? And the waves continue anew to slink backward to what is homeward. From here, where will we all go as the waves pull us away to infinity? Certainly the scrambling old men may sense fate, that kite’s flight to be all the more pending. How to prepare? The reality is there is no stopping it. This time machine, like life, moves forward its one way. Everything ends, the poet’s first two words say. Empty nests fill our neighborhoods, near as our own homes. Birds fly away, and never return. To the end of the world, to wherever that is. But the last line remains present tense. These birds, perhaps indeed all of us, sing. We sing. And not an old song, but preciously new. We sing a song not even our parents could have imagined of us.


Review by Paul Jones

Here the poet talks of the flight of Time’s Arrow evoking through strong internal rhymes the birds’ generations. Like the Arrow, like the Machine, the birds soar but make a new life that their predecessors cannot know.


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