Collage Essay: This Moment

By Dave Hood

I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning. (J. B. Priestly)

We do not remember days, we remember moments. (Cesare Pavese)

The other day, my girlfriend told me a story about someone she knew: While driving to visit a friend, a young man, 27, lost control of his motorcycle on a quiet residential street, crashed into a metal fence, bounced into a maple tree, dying instantly. He had graduated from university a few short years ago, established a good career as a C.A., and was building his life, hoping to marry, purchase a home, have children, live until old age.

Shortly after the body was taken to the morgue, grieving family and friends erected a memorial, which included a candle, photograph, words of remembrance.

After my girlfriend told me the sad news, we drove past and observed the memorial in silence, disbelieving how this could happen on a quiet suburban street. I thought myself: Death by misadventure or carelessness…Perhaps he turned away for just a moment.

Last week, the family held a funeral, the man was buried in a cemetery, somewhere in the city. All that remains are the memories.

Meanwhile, life marches forward. Some people live in their own worlds with their private troubles, believing that tomorrow will arrive. Some sleepwalk through each day, and don’t give this moment much thought. Other are immersed in grief and sadness of a moment that altered life irrevocably.

Yesterday, I drove past the house where the injured man was discovered. The memorial had been removed. The neighborhood was still. I didn’t see a soul walking or mowing a lawn. A typical quiet street in summer, cars parked, doors closed, air conditioners humming, people watching television. I thought to myself: It’s as if the tragedy never occurred and the man never died….If only we could turn back time.

He is blessed over all mortals who loses no moment of the passing time. (Henry David Thoreau)

Life is all the memory except for the one present moment that goes by so quick you can hardly catch it going past. (Tennessee Williams)

I live now and only now, and I will do what I want to do this moment and not what I decided was best for me yesterday. (Hugh Prather)

Yesterday is a memory chiseled in the mind. An experience or event or person evoking emotion. Yesterday cannot be altered, though we can learn from it. We can remember the past fondly or allow it to torment.

Tomorrow is a hope, a wish, an expectation, something dreaded, an anxiety. There is no certainty that it will arrive, despite all the preparation and planning, or dread. Don’t let any possible future keep you from the present. Life progresses unexpectedly.

All you really have is this fleeting moment of time. Your next breath might be your last. So embrace each moment. Live it as if it were your last.


Life is altered irrevocably in a moment of time.

The Dead House
by J. T. Barbarese

Fireplace blocked,
sealed with
cardboard, and taped.
Furniture trashed,
paneling smashed.
On the second floor

a rotting cat
furry and fey
in a nap
of  gore
glued flat

to a spot
on the floor,
in a frieze of decay,
up-staring, popeyed,

The screens I installed
belled out, belled in.
Every window
cracked, broken,
or forgotten, left open.
The in-gusting Atlantic

left smelling sick.
A shade softly crashed
on a sash,
finish nails and a bare
molly bolt fanfared
me from the gloom.

Google the address:
from outer space
it’s a bare green blot,
treeless, erased,
terns where we made love,
gulls where we fought.

Our latest moment is always our supreme moment. Five minutes delay in dinner now is more important than a great sorrow ten years gone. (Samuel Butler)

We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand…and melting like a snowflake. Let us use it before it is too late. ( Marya Mannes)


About Dave Hood

Lover of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction. Professional photographer and writer. Without the arts, life would be rather mundane, like a walk down the same old path on a dull day.
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