Sunday, May 01, 2016

on waiting to be enlisted

It was a time of brick walls and bloodshot eyes...

photo by dsnake1

on waiting to be enlisted
early freaking 70's

so this is it
this is the mousetrap
i have been listening
to Uriah Heep's 'The Park'
speaking of loss
and needless wars
looping looping
till the track is
scratched thin on the vinyl.

outside just a floor below
the noon traffic lumbers by
horns angry, tyres screeching,
men swearing in dialects
strange that i did not
noticed it before
those noises
or the stand-fan
in the corner of the room
blades turning
stirring stale air
dust motes settling
on the linoleum

i am slouched on the
battered sofa
my mother yells at me
to move my ass
nothing interest me now
maybe just the music
or the static
in the head
i am not even
angry anymore
and that's dangerous.

in a couple of days
the army will come for me.


guys, i wrote this for SingPoWriMo 2016.

"..the sun rose each morning to stare into my face with the blank but touching gaze of a lovely retarded child.”

James Crumley, The Last Good Kiss

Shared on Poetry Pantry #300 at Poets United.

The Park by Uriah Heep.

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2016

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Anonymous Donna@LivingFromHappiness said...

The times of our youth as we try to make sense of it all...very moving and loved the end!

01 May, 2016 23:07  
Anonymous dsnake1 said...

oh yes, times of teenage angst, short tempers and identity crisis!
thank you, Donna. :)

01 May, 2016 23:29  
Blogger Sherry Blue Sky said...

You made me feel that waiting. How horrible it must be.......the resigned numbness, "and that's dangerous". An especially difficult situation, as the narrator understands war is needless.

01 May, 2016 23:46  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

Sherry, i was really frustrated waiting. i could not get a job, i was not interested in the military, yes, it was a very difficult situation then.

02 May, 2016 00:02  
Blogger Susan said...

I guess there's no "conscientious objector status" over there. I'm listening to the Uriah Heap as I write this. I never noticed the marching quality to it before, emphasizing the inevitable as I read your poem again. You use painful detail.

02 May, 2016 00:10  
Blogger brudberg said...

It must have been awful... my service (not really risky, just a wasted year) learned me the concept of waiting... it must have been all that I did... I really love how you timestamped it with the music you played.

02 May, 2016 00:44  
Blogger Sanaa Rizvi said...

This is such an emotive write.. I can relate to the feelings of anxiety when we just don't know whats going to happen next. The waiting period does get on our nerves.

Lots of love,

02 May, 2016 04:27  
Blogger Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

The long poem is wonderful; you evoke both environment and mood so well, seemingly effortlessly (the art that conceals art). I also love the one-liner that opens this post, which, in its own way, says everything.

02 May, 2016 05:01  
Blogger Mary said...

You have really captured so well a time in your life. I can feel what it must have been like. This, to me, is what I like to see in a poem....a bit of reality. And, oh, the waiting!! I can feel that most of all.

02 May, 2016 07:44  
Blogger Old Egg said...

There in your prime you found that you were being taken away and would miss out on a few years of life...very deflating.

02 May, 2016 09:46  
Blogger Wendy Bourke said...

This is written with such evocative words - they fall like moody notes that conjure forth another time and place - and state of mind, really. Wonderful writing.

02 May, 2016 10:11  
Blogger dsnake1 said...


no, there's no conscientious objector status over here, as long as the male is fit, he must serve. you noticed the marching quality in the song too, i wondered is it deliberate by the songwriter. :)


i was lucky too, that there was no war but the training was quite tough. and then yes, it was more waiting for the time to run out...
yes, popular music is a good way to timestamp a literary piece. :)


oh yes, the waiting period does get on the nerves. sometimes it drives me almost crazy. :)


thank you for the kind comment. i like the preamble too. :)


ah yes, i tried to focus more on the waiting. :)


yes, in our prime. but now thinking back, we do not have a choice at that time, being surrounded by neighbours who may turn hostile any time.
Australia do not have compulsory service, i understand?


I am glad you find this piece moody. it was a different time and place, no doubt.. :)

02 May, 2016 16:00  
Blogger Jae Rose said...

What a terrible wait - all those little discomforts build and build and you can feel his fear..and each dragging second of the night - which will no doubt be missed once it's 'gone'

02 May, 2016 19:22  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

it was a terrible wait alright, Jae. :)

02 May, 2016 19:50  

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