what did you do today

you
what did you do today

well I
got abused
by my mother

and you
what did you do
today

I hospitalised
my father

she did it
for her own true sake
had to keep
some control

and I did it
for his very own good
he doesn’t like it
but
that’s the way

it’s just the way

you
what did you do today

I slammed the door shut
on the old house

and what did you do
today

I put the key
in my pocket
where it will stay

and if the door doesn’t
open up
again
that’s for the best

the key
well I think it right
to keep it safe
in my control

hey
what did you do today
was it anything
like me

did you wander
to the Nursing Home
or the Hospital

did you pull the shutters
closed
on old old lives
like I did

I bet you didn’t

I hope you didn’t

I wish
you never have to

like
today


© Frank Prem, 2017

Poem #34: a moment of memory

yesterday?

do I know
that life existed
yesterday

I remember
clearly
that it did

the details
of the day I had

the time I spent
talking so earnestly
with you

but that was then

but
was that
then

what I recall –
was that a real life
or
some thing
my mind made up
to fill a space
that I name

the memory
of yesterday

maybe
that life

this life

was never
really
until I thought
today


© Frank Prem, 2017

Poem #32: sea, the desert

a long wave

my poem today
is an empty space

where voice should be

.

.

.

.

there is silence

long waves
play the old hits
on a radio
push the weather
around the planet

but there is no wave
where my verse
should reside

just static charges
(by the proton)
for nothing

there is emptiness
where my poem should be

hello hello

is life alive
out there

hello hello

I hear the echoes
resounding
from better days

recitals read
one
after another

hello hello

hello hello

where is my poem
today
I can only hear
the sounds of the space
that it used to fill

blown away
by a long wave


© Frank Prem, 2017

Poem #31: yesterday?

the time traveler reflects

travelling back
through time
is such a drag

don’t you agree

oh
it has its uses

that
I know

small corrections
here and there

smoother trails
into the sunset
that can’t be changed

yeah yeah
yeah

but
don’t show yourself
to younger you

don’t reveal your face
to anyone
you know

to anyone
you once knew

lest they double-take
and change
the big continuum
of space
and then-and-there
or here-and-now

god help you
if you show
just once
who you are
to anyone at all
that could matter
in your life

maybe
in their life

and
how are you to know

yaah
it’s over-rated
so
why don’t you
and I
settle down somewhere
right now

and get to know
what this little moment
brings

to the full
and without regrets
that might need
a tweaking
later

there is really
nothing
later

let’s do it
now


© Frank Prem, 2017

Poem #30: the time traveler reflects

like rain

from above
there is little to note

his progress is
steady
as though slowly moving
through snow

from below
silver white
in an expanse
flecked with continent shapes
that stretch
seemingly forever

occasional blue patches
glimpsed momentarily
then swallowed up
again

it is when on the level plane
looking across
that he is revealed

his legs working
feverishly

frantic

a blur of motion
working

updownupdownupdown

ceaselessly
hardly pausing in their
apogee-perigee
relationship
with the whisping cloud

his momentum forward
is a stutter-step
like a wound mechanical

a clockwork toy
focused
on a breathless traverse
that will not tolerate
a stall
a hiccup
a hesitation

driven

updownupdownupdown

for should he stop
suffer a failure
of impetus
he knows

knows surely

he will fall


© Frank Prem, 2017

Poem #29: the time traveler reflects

prepare your home

check your doors
the winter is coming

I’ve been where
the wind
weeps
and it moans

the song that it wails
is a cold chill
and growing

one of these days
it’s going to blow
through your home

have you closed
the gaps?

are your windows
shuttered?

listen to the wind
it’s crying
be warned

I sing the song
with the wind
of winter

oh
wo-wo-wo

I sing along

will you sing with me
from your warm
just watching

as the wind keens
high
it’s moan

oh
wo-wo-wo

wo-wo-wo


© Frank Prem, 2017

Poem #28: like rain

making home

I will away
from here

into the easy breeze

unravel
a silk trail
behind

I’ll fly
to find
a new anchor

|
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…………|
……….|
……..|
………..|
…………..|
……………..|
……………|
…………|
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……|
|
.|
|
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|
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oh
my shining line
my
gossamer

I see
where I have been

but here
I will weave
a home
for me and mine

and I will tight
each cord
enough to sway
but never break
no
no
not even
though the tempest rage

not though the baking sun
beats down
and down on me

I will
from my inward dream
sculpt

such a home

never again
will I leave


© Frank Prem, 2017

Poem #27: prepare your home

don’t mind the toll

there is a tolling
just on the outside of my mind

not the clangor of a grand bell
chimed from atop some steeple
with a name like

Ethelred

no no

this is more like
a rhythmic drip
of water
falling from the gutter
of a rooftop
through a downpipe
to plink
when it strikes the bottom
at the drain

no no
it’s not like that

it is the boing-ing
of a spring
slowly uncoiling
keeping cadence
to the unravelling of the bed
beneath me

nono
it’s just a random toll
sounded
altogether vaguely
just
on the outside
of my mind


© Frank Prem, 2017

Poem #26: making home

at the social security office

there’s a greeter at the door
she must be full
of knowledge
to be able to direct all enquiries
to the right places
but
when I stepped too close
she looked instantly scared

backed away from me
as though I was a threat
in the process
of materialization

in the voice that they use
the one that conveys
to you that the presence
of pimples
on the face
is an unbearable discomfort
she seeks my details

I’ve forgotten to bring
my numbers
so
it has to be
the hard way

then

sit over there

the headmistress

the wayward pupil

a vast open-plan
computer desk
two screens
chair
times thirty

but I am not to look

every chair
a sickly green
is in an arc
pointed across empty space
towards the window

and the street

no spying on the workers
is allowed
no hint of agitation
irritation
even irony
might be subversive
and extract a punishment

how would you like
a six week hiccup
to kiss your dole cheque?

and finally
my name
is called

and a complexity
of routine
and unspeakable boredom
is initiated

if I didn’t know better
I would swear
this clerk was moving
mountains
for me
but in truth
the system is just
s
l
o
w
and she doesn’t care much
but there is a time allocated
for enquiries of my kind

it must be filled
without eye contact
it must be filled
with the authority
of government
and the law

did I mention the chairs
are the colour
of colic

and the authority here
is moved by knowledge
of injustice justified
as routine
with an overlay
of the fear
of self-awareness


© Frank Prem, 2017

Poem #25: don’t mind the toll