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Truth in Illusions

by Daniel Herrera

“Truth in Illusions”

“You would measure time the measureless and immeasurable.”

Khalil Gibran

The Prophet

Khalil’s eyes melted into the blue waters of time. He attempted to measure the minutes he had spent there floating on the water of Santa Monica, but he found the minutes and the seconds merging and slipping in between his tongue and the vowels of his mind. Each time he attempted to measure it, he would forget the beginning or the middle and ended up with a number that arrived to him like a wave of dreams. His mind traveled back and forth through various memories and thoughts, smearing the line between himself of the now and the selves that existed under the waters of time.

He floated in between the veil of water that separated place from the whirlpool of time that extended outward from the center of the physical world. Time could not exist without place, and place cannot exist without time. Time passed over place like the ocean waters that Khalil was floating in. Both time and place merged at the veil of human consciousness where dreams and the waking world commune over the measureless waters of time

“It is all connected…” his whisper broke through the membrane encircled time, biting its own ending with the beginning of its own creation.

“I need to….. I need…….to” his words drowned in the equations of Euclid and the geometrical absolutes of the bubbles that reached the shore line.

“Khalil! Khalil! Khalil!” his mother called to him. His eleven year old hands hated the illogical connections of variable to the infinite amount of numbers it could represent.

“Shit, why do they have to have so many numbers? It could be zero to a thousand, or a million and yet that infinity is nestled in the curvatures of a number, a glyph, why? All that infinite possibilities reduced to a single letter on a single spot on a small space of a page. It is too much. God, ahhh, dammit.”

His body moved between the years of adolescence and of sexual awakening.

“Khalil, Khalil” his friend from Mr. Hall’s class called out to him. The water's purity changed from the amniotic saline that births all life to the chlorine of the local pool at Central Union High School.

“Khalil! Muevete! Mr. Baskin is coming!”

“Yes, it, ummm, si, I, whhhh…I….. I,” his mouth disappeared in rivulets of years where math and God spoke in loving verses.

“I don’t understand it, Math, I don’t understand it. Integers and whole numbers; a child understands this, but I don’t; different names for the same numbers. A 1 is 1, when did it change; the nature of numbers and the place on a line that directs the movement of value. -1, +1, the values move and change depending on a number that becomes the opposite of itself. Matter, Anti-matter, number and anti-number? I don’t know what I am talking about. I don’t know math that well… What do I know? The value changes based on movement, and that movement is based on the passage of time; and time passes through my hands as so does the waves of the water. Is the water the same? Does it matter? It does; the definition of substance precedes thought. The water here is different from the water ten minutes ago. Change is constant, constant is change. A transmutation of life. Thank God.”

The chlorine water moved in riddles of puddles, sipping the lakes of time and changing the acidity level to fishes and a cool summer’s day.

“Khalil. Khalil. Khalil.” his wife calls to him in an aged body of bad cholesterol and ethereal constructs of life and death.

“I don’t understand my son’s algebraic work. I don’t understand time. These constructed seconds that are based on the orbit of an atom. The infinitesimal movement of an atom tells me when I can eat, piss, sleep, or if I have enough time to make love. My whole life has been dictated quietly in whispers of a not sentient atom. An atom we believe without asking; only verifying our experience with its presence. Time is an illusion.”

The flaming seaweed returned to caress the arthritic hands of a man whose body hair has changed from onyx to a soft cloud marble white. The ocean at Santa Monica Beach still hears him, calling to name the souls of his family through the roots of the Pacific Ocean.

“Khalil, Grandpa, Khalil, Grandpa, Khalil, Grandpa.”

“I am here. I am still here. My soul is here waiting without my consent to return to God. The whirlpool is still there; time, the fingerprint of God. It is still there; where time and place are separate and connected. Time flows over place like the waters of my skin and yet, time and place can never separate, like the chronological integers of a number line. Once I entered these waters, I can never leave the current, only return to the beginning, where time is unified like the souls of God. I still don’t understand math or time, but I believe I know that there is truth in illusions.”

“Khalil, Khalil, Khalil” his mother called to him. His hands still caressing the flaming sea weed has yet to touch the love of his wife. His mouth has yet to breathe in the kisses of his children. His spirit has yet to return to the earth. He laughs and smiles at the illusion that guides his truths; all he could say to the beginning of his thoughts is “the beginning bites the end of time.”


Daniel Herrera currently is a Professor of English at Arizona Western College. He has been an educator for the past fourteen years where he has worked at a junior high and at a high school teaching English. During that time, he completed his Masters studies, where he rediscovered his love for writing poems, essays, short stories, memoirs. It was during his studies that he also rediscovered his love for reading, especially Latino Literature. He received an Honorable Mentions for his poem “Dream's Shadows” which appeared in Arizona Western College’s Colorado Crossing Literary Journal. He currently holds a Bachelors in English and a Masters in Literature and Writing.

He is married to his amor, Chilo, and has three wonderful boys.

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