Uncategorized11 May 2020 11:42 am
Cover detail, Daredevil Comics #5 (Nov. 1941), art by Charles Biro. (Lev Gleason Pubs., defunct co.)

F. J. Bergmann

We fall into time as a dead leaf into a river.

—Don Paterson


Chrono-Man invented time travel
by accident, trying to fit too much
into one day. He stretched time so far
that when he let go it flung him
like a stupendous slingshot
across the millennia. Now he can access
any temporal continuum
just by judicious over-commitment.
Chrono-Man wears LED knitwear
that ripples where it shouldn’t.
Balding, jowly and anxious,
he has a small potbelly and a heart condition.
He is the champion of last-minute saves,
last-ditch efforts, and lost causes.
His heraldic totem is a rubber band
twisted into a figure-eight couchant—
the symbol of infinity. His motto is
I can make time for that.

Quicksand is Chrono-Man’s arch-enemy.
As fast as Chrono-Man can stretch time
like a Spandex Speedo, Quicksand
can spend it: urge it on faster and faster;
use it up. Quicksand wears a red suit
with a spinning hourglass lapel pin and has
red—scarlet—hair and eyes, to match his suit.
He is a lively date. He can make time
speed up, but not slow down. He likes to drive
the ambitious, and those who volunteer
for more than their share, to destruction.
Quicksand is the god of second thoughts
and abandoned efforts and stressing out.
His catchphrase: It is later than you think.

Speed time up as it stretches, and the elastic
of that substance will snap, as Quicksand
and Chrono-Man chase each other
up and down the time-stream. You yourself
may experience this chronological effluvium
as having some resemblance to an actual river:
sometimes the current is slow and stately,
each shore so far away that it fades
to a dark fog of treeline on the horizon;
sometimes a rapid current tumbles you
down titanic falls. You are only a marker
by which that current can be measured
when those rivals meet at the end of time
and total up their scores.

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