The Reviewer, by Frank Prem

The Reviewer
by Frank Prem

why relief
he asked himself

it wasn’t better
sometimes worse

so why the feeling of relief

like a third person
a reviewer
hovering above
he looked back and down
at himself

at how good it had been

he found it hard to say aloud
what was in his head
feeling himself to be in battle
with an irrational conviction
that the sound of the words
would either turn everything
into overblown reality
or prove the lie

every good thing magnified
to an impossible goodness

every negative grown enlarged
until it loomed

he reflected on the way the unspoken
could be ignored
changed if need be
or hugged in a warmth
that hadn’t been aspired to
and could never be uttered aloud
for fear

he considered her

her need to hear him
his thoughts
his feelings
his reassurances

how he had tried
to give her what she wanted

the way it made him sweat
shake in discomfort
like a confrontation
with the unformed part of himself

so much angst
for what was
so very little
yet far beyond
what he could reach

he looked again
at the incomplete
mental tally

the good things
the deficiencies
his capacity to change
the poor likelihood now
of ever needing to

this relief
thin and watery
is an unsatisfying form
but review is his only way forward
it remains an internal process

Process notes: Poem is placed just after a relationship break up. An attempt at critical examination of the protagonists’ deficiencies as reason for the break up.

Frank Prem has been writing poetry as a serious pursuit for in excess of 20 years, and has been published in magazines, zines and anthologies, both in Australia and in a number of countries overseas, occasionally for money or prizes. He has self-published three collections of his work, The Book of Evenings (written as Frank Faust), Memoir of a Dog, and Small Town Kid. Frank lives with his talented singer/songwriter wife Leanne Murphy in the hills above Beechworth in the North-East of Victoria, where they nestle as close to nature as they can. Blogs at

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