un-swimming

he looks around him

there’s nothing much to see

in the corner of the room
a white-snake extension cord
coils around itself

he’s never learned how to wind it
without twisting the flex

soon he might need a holiday
from holidays
too much available time
isn’t necessarily positive
and he ought to be back in the saddle
riding into chaos each day

in the unpredictable world he works in
the uncertainty is regular and sure
a comfort
that helps him to stay on his toes

he reads in the papers
about a wave of devastation
nine countries turned over
onto their backs

shanties and houses are gone
there wasn’t much to start with
now there’s nothing at all
but the dead and the dying
and the lost
who wear wooden and vacant looks
that tell the numbness
of after-shock

the tv reveals where the water came fast
it moved like a live thing

now everything’s gone

and what’s to be done
from his place in the lounge
where cobwebs surround
the side-table
and lurk in each corner

he’s watched the images
for a week every day
and still can’t work out
the why
or what task should fall to him to perform

surely it must be close to the time
when he ought to get back to his workplace
and the regular chaos
of a predictable unknown

because these holidays
these over-long holidays
are stretching out wide
like a dirty-brown wave
on an over-run beach somewhere

and he seems to be un-learning
the right ways to swim
in turgid water


© Frank Prem, 2009

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2 thoughts on “un-swimming

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