the futility of triple words

Psychiatry 4: Acute Observations


sitting in the dining room
the back corner where he won’t get disturbed
he’s got a book of rules out
dictionary thesaurus and words
a world of words

he does so many pages a day
a genius at the triple-word plays
because he practices moves and combos
knows a little-used term to describe
a master scrabble player
that includes a q tile or maybe a j

he’s scored five hundred
he’s scored five-fifty
he’s scored on every play
in this game of ours
while I’m stuck
looking for a way to turn my tiles in
try to find better letters
maybe find a triple word he hasn’t claimed yet

but then
he really ought to be good for the big scores
he’s got the dictionary open
at eight in the morning
and anyway
it’s time for me to make my way to the meds room
to line up anti-psychotics in plastic cups
and then
a thesaurus won’t keep his eyes open
he’ll be sleeping
dreaming about big scores
about jousting in tournaments

about victory

in his room
non-compus
before a result is declared


ยฉ Frank Prem, 2009

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24 thoughts on “the futility of triple words

  1. I find this an incredibly heart-rending poem, Frank. The medications seem worse than the condition at times. Now, they are giving them to people in aged care facilities. Truly, the world has gone mad!

    I am so grateful that you are writing these stories. My grandmother was in one of those institutions for a time. Details seem to be lost in time. Something that is rarely talked about. I suspect she had post natal depression, and I’ve heard rumours of a great crime that she endured in her teens. For all that, she was an exceedingly talented pianist (OCD can be helpful at times) and by all accounts could have had a career in this area. But it was not to be , due to the war, family and hardship. I wish I knew her story. I’m sure your book will provide some insight into what it was like to have mental health issues for people of her generation.

    I need to get your books in hard cover I’ve decided because I just can’t synthesise issues stories like yours from e-books. And because organisation is a challenge for me, it has occurred to me that it might just be faster if I drove to Beechworth to get them! We all have our foibles I guess. ๐Ÿ™„

    Liked by 1 person

    • Incredibly difficult journeys for many clients of the system over the years. many hardship stories along the way – then and now.

      I’ll have to try to organise an author visit and a few readings up Canberra way. There are a few folk from there, including yourself, who might be interested in coming along.

      Failing that, though, wait a little until I get this next book in print and we can work out how to get you copies in paperback. I can do it via mail in Australia – and inscribe and sign them for you, as well. – Simple invoice with bank transfer details.

      Liked by 1 person

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