a poem: snakes on the deck

Sometimes I’m tempted to get angry that I have to stand here and teach English. I want to rage and rail and list my complaints neatly in ordered, alphabetized lines.
But I don’t let myself ever get angry. Not really truly deeply angry. I chose this life. I think I have no right to get angry that I chose it.
Choose something else, is the obvious answer. And yet I don’t. So fear is there. And laziness. The status quo. Inertia. A body at one job remains at one job unless acted upon by unemployment or very great determination. Workers first law.
I rage in silence at myself in the end. Why are you standing there teaching English? Layabout.

(Part 2, sometime later)

I am angry now. I have pulled up a great column
Of anger in my chest and am heaving it out, coil by coil,
Like a great slippery snake
Like a heavy rope on a ship
To coil and coil without end.
The deck is full of the slips and strains of it.
I am angry.
Angry that I feel beholden to something
I should not.
This life is toxic. It is destroying my body.
Why have I not left.
Why do I feel this guilt.
Why has this place given me such guilt that I can’t even walk away when it no longer serves me nor helps me nor is even safe for me.
Were I at home I wouldn’t hesitate.
No, just here.
I am rotting.
A carcass for carrion birds to find and harvest.
I will leave the shell behind and journey home.
The soul bright and untainted.
The long, long journey back to it.


2 thoughts on “a poem: snakes on the deck”

  1. You didn’t leave, because you couldn’t. That’s what they don’t tell you in expat school 😛 that your visa is tied to your job. That’s one of the reasons why Cambodia was so great. Yes, you got your visa through work, but you could easily change it too.

    Funny how hard we are on ourselves. Now I wonder what exactly brought all those coils and coils of anger up?


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