Tic Toc

Tic Toc is a poem written by Zach Bower on his 25th birthday.  He was incarcerated and living in the “hole” in Potosi, Missouri.  The date was September 26, 2006.  Zach is scheduled for release in November 2019.

Melting it fades and drips

comes – goes – and sticks.

Then it just pools

thick – clumped handfuls.

Spit it out! Now!

Explain it how? True!

Why do we allow

this shit to continue?

Because time is golden?

My time was stolen,

or given away???

By choices I made.

Life is just ticks,

hands roll – and chip

cut away what’s left.

It’s a wicked theft

to take away one single day

that could of changed

all the rest – that remained.


Drip, drop, drip – go,

bright light to a dim glow.

My life is, but an echo

of all the things I know.

Lost too much

to feel too much!

Seen silence clutch –

saws time touch,

in an embrace

before my face.

But all is such

in such a place.

Where dreams run

a circle race –

– Time dissipates

and you grow old!

Don’t go to sleep

but just grow cold.

“It’s what you are

for what you sowed.”

Man this shit gets old!


It runs, can’t stop it.

Won’t change or block it.

Like blood in veins

Tick . . . Toc maintains

a steady course

until life drains

from the corpse

that’s got it

or it’s got in chains.


In chains I stand.

Man, I’ve felt pains.

Time – chains us all!

Back to the wall,

blood drips, then falls

from our clenched paws.

Tic . . . Toc sill calls.

Laughs in our ear

causes the fear

that blurs the clear.

Crushed crystal ball.

On the mirror smear

that one bold tear.


Tic . . . Toc – cut – scar!

Poets spit in a jar,

to create this song

we song too long.

– It licks our heel

the heat we feel

flames consume our soul.

– As time burns by

we wait to die

dig our graves deep,

and watch from above

for the final shove

as Tic . . . Toc creeps.


It falls – hits – cracks!

Claws when it attacks!

Rips youth from you

leaves torn and chewed

all that becomes past.

– Jerked roots out fast

– too quick to last . . .

We are roles in a cast

we did not write.

It burns and bites!

Struggles and fights,

ages all – just right.

Now ripe and ready

head under machete,

it’ll swing – cut clean.

Because life ain’t steady

or so it seems.

It comes on cue.

Leaves when it wants to.

I’ve sat and waited.

Tic . . . Toc and hated!

Just a slow decay,

tapped toe to say,

“I’m tired. Let’s go.”


I’ve watched it grow

from a piece to a whole.

All life unsaid.

Just shook my head,

and took a drag –

rises to a sag –

ever watch smoke float?

Sail in a boat

on the current it weaves?

Just to escape

the mental rape it leaves?


Boredom is a noose

too tight to loosen

wrapped around your neck.

Do a clock check!

– Oh no! It’s stopped

and there it stays,

over and over delays.

A skipping record plays

as our lives tick away.

Deadline till we pay.

A date we say,

then mark it’s page,

and count the days,

till the time comes

we watch sand run.


We pay our wages,

trapped in cages.

As time just steals!

Outrageous it peels

the layers back

and calendars stack

a smothering feel.

A light through a crack,

that Tic . . . Toc fills!


No breath to give.

No life to live.


In the great dark

a deaf man hears,

the Tic . . . Toc bark

as the rabid dog nears

Tic . . . Toc stills.


In the great light

the blind man sees,

the Tic . . . Toc bit

rip life from me.

Tick . . . Toc kills.

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