We Are Prisoners of Time

Time is a currency with no fixed exchange rate

Time is presented as a fact; as the math by which we live, but time instead is the dark diamond serpent slowly coiling itself around a solitary tree in a story we know . . . we know . . . we know . . . but we’ve never been told. When does this story begin? When does this story end?

Time is a currency with no fixed exchange rate. Mid-July—on a wooden raft built with your brother, sage and milkweed in each breath, the clean dry sun on your winter skin, silent air and unblemished sky—your time storehouse is a thousand grain bins deep, your account statement too long to print. There you are, smiling in the center of the frame, holding a cardboard check with endless zeros, physically incapable of imagining the money ever running out.

And there you are too—on a strange bed in a strange room wearing borrowed clothes, with people you just met—each breath uncertain, your senses buffering, your savings account drained, your grain bins dust, begging with an eye for just one more penny, for even just the briefest waft of its coppery presence.


Agriculture and commerce gave us time, industrialization and urbanization took it away, and modernization and automation gave it back. And now, consumerism has at last bloomed into its predestined and perfect form: a machine that finally lets us throw time away instead of spending it.

You are valuable. You work, you earn, you spend. But on what? There are more than three channels, more than three laundry detergents, more than three places to vacation, more than three records to listen to, more than three newspapers to consume.

It’s become complicated to manipulate and profit from our attention. 22 minutes of vaudeville interrupted by guarantees that the shame of our bodily functions, of our human frailty, and our masochistic appetites can be laundered with a purchase.

We can no longer be relied upon to be guided like bovids through a ever narrowing funnel of attention grabbers
You exist as a commodity in a battle for attention.

The only affluence that matters is time affluence.

Alternate cover image for Two Dollar Coast, a song by Brick Blair

Two Dollar Coat: Answers and Questions

“Almost all my gear is from charity shops and estate sales,” said Brick. “I rebuild it then write and record with it. Some pieces I keep and others I sell through a side business I have with my kids. The acoustic guitar is an early 70s Japanese Epiphone dreadnought I bought several years ago at a charity shop (Goodwill) and kept.”

Cover image for Two Dollar Coast, a song by Brick Blair

Listen Now: Two Dollar Coat from Brick Blair

Two Dollar Coat is a new stripped down, vulnerable song from Brick Blair that evokes classic acoustic singer songwriters like Yusuf/Cat Stevens and John Prine, albums like Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska, and songs like Townes Van Zandt’s, Waiting Around to Die.

On the Zooms Song Essay

If You Stop Using Zoom, Do You Cease to Exist?If You Stop Using Zoom, Do You Cease to Exist? She loved people and she loved travel. The pandemic took both. Her family lived on another continent, so face-to-screen-to-face was familiar. But it was bloodless.