This article argues that colonial time is fractured, uneven, and co-constituted by tension. Despite coercive violence and instruments of temporal control, non-internalized alternative conceptions of time can/do exist, hybridize, and transform autonomously. We explore these tensions through an examination of post-revolution Iran's attempt to project colonial time through the prison system, and the persistence of non-internalized temporal alternatives as articulated through prisoner memoirs and narratives. Prisons and imprisonment, by removing bodies from the body politic, functions to colonize time to erase, homogenize, and mediate past, present, and future – thereby reproducing ideational-material governance. Yet prisoner memoirs and narratives reveal this process to be incomplete as the agency of individuals to retain, create, and testify provide indications of non-internalized decolonial temporal imaginaries. In taking into consideration our case study and recent trends in anthropology, we inject into the field of International Relations an understanding of colonial time as tension, which can be applied to political-economic and cultural contexts in which time is actively being colonized.