One beat of a Heart Machine broken in two…

Alex Haber

We file into the car, a parade of trajectories.
You are already there, facing inward.
You do not turn hide or turn away but face us.
An object lesson in sadness.
I get off.
Imagine you enter a quiet theater already darkened in anticipation and you hear the sound so often drowned out by our daily rush of movement.
The tick of your watch surges in your ears and you’re surprised to find it is exactly time with that of your neighbor.
To have set them at precisely the same instant, with all the instances to have chosen from.
Applause rises from the crowd or an image appears on the screen and you can no longer hear time pass.
Weeks later I step onto the car; Eyes swollen and wet.
You are already there and I sit in the empty seat beside you.
Don’t think I don’t notice your fleeting glances towards my downturned face.
Your inquisitive and pitying eyes.
One backward glance as you rise.
And in that moment before the engine revs. In that silence before the crowd moves to the door, I hear the ticking of my watch. And yours, a quarter second later.
One beat of a Heart Machine broken in two.
And as your foot reaches the ground, the doors close.

This piece was featured in the film The Heart Machine.


The movie was a romantic thriller and directed by Zachary Wigon. Its starred John Gallagher Jr. and Kate Lyn Sheil. The film closed with this poem. I won’t spoil the ending or give you a speculated review, because it is not my desire t convince you of the film’s value. This poem uses the idea of the ticking of a watch as a personified object in which we can hear the passing of time. And thus I want to pose a thought:

Is it possible to hear time pass? To listen to the coming and going of the weeks and months and years? Is it possible to simply listen to life? I don’t mean the cars and sirens and daily conversations we overhear on the street. But the sound of the leaves changing. The noise of the grieving mother. The music of young love overcoming adversity. And the volume of the broken finally being healed.

Can we hear the resonance of life? I feel we can. Maybe we hear it unconsciously, but we can.

The word euphony means the quality of being pleasing to the ear, esp. through a harmonious combination of words. It doesn’t say a certain instrument or note…it states what is pleasing to the ear. Our life is our own perception of euphonic chaos. The chaos and moments that are pleasing to the ear not matter the sound or season. How often do we go through life and hear the sounds but refuse to listen to the music.


I encourage you next time you’re in a subway car filled with strangers, next time you walk ten blocks because you missed your ride, next time life feels like it’s weighing you down. Stop and just listen to the passing of time. Listen to ticking of your watch and your neighbor’s. And as Alex Haber stated so eloquently, listen to the split beats of the heart machines around you.

Don’t let life speed by you. But listen to the passing of time. Enjoy the ride, until you hit Seneca.

Don’t stop listening until you get to your stop.


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I tell stories through the different mediums of art. I act, sing, write, paint...and I don't consideer myself great at any of these things. I consider myself a person who God has blessed with a passion for telling stories; so I just can't not.

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