Swimming Laps

It’s Tuesday
Or maybe Thursday;
The distinction’s
Growing dim,
But Wifey
Always tells me
When it’s my day
At the gym.
I no longer jog
Or weight-lift;
My bursitis
Is too grim,
And I’m too unsociable
For classwork
Like Pilates, so...
I swim.
I take a
Penny-locker key...
On a safety-pin,
To pin it...
Though I haven’t
Any valuables
Or money
To put in it,
No car keys
And no wallet,
Cuz Wifey drives me there,
And she has to
Come and get me too...
(Or pay a taxi fare).
I only go on weekdays
When the kids
Are all in school
And they put in
The stair with railings
To get seniors in the pool.
I swim for
Half an hour,
No race,
No starting gun,
Just a time
For killing time
Until my time
Is done.
It hardly counts
As exercise
At the pace I go,
Like a manatee
On Sominex,
A listless
To and fro.
Some think of it
As back and forth,
But it's a
One-way track;
Soon enough
You realize
It's only back...
And back.
The pool bottom
Features dark blue lines
To keep me
Going straight,
Though I’ve stayed in line
For decades
And it’s not
All that great.
Straight lanes lead to
No Land of Oz,
No pot of gold, at all.
I’ve stayed on line
Lap after lap;
They all end at a wall.
A fit young lad
Sits high on guard,
Full of life and strength,
But he's not allowed
To meditate, or talk,
Or dream, or think.
He perches
Like a vulture
Watching an
Old man crawl.
Earning his living
Guarding life
Is not a Life at all.
If I chose to chuck it
And simply stopped
And sank,
He'd swoop in
Like a bird of prey...
And I'd have him
To thank.
On one arm-stroke,
I hold air in,
On one I take a
I fancy
One is Being
And the other one
Is Death.
But you must
Reject this idyl
Or the horror
That you get
Is that Being
And Non-Being
Are each other's
Raison d'être.
Once these laps had
Lucid intervals
With a few
Unconscious blanks.
The blanks
At least were painless;
For the lucid
I gave thanks...
And could play at
Pomes and anagrams
Idly filling time
With meaningless word music
And foolishness and rhyme:
Laps, taps, saps, chaps
Splashy slap-ass pals
Shapes and phases,
Heaps of peas,
Passes, lasses, gals.

But now
In the intervals
In the gaps.
Just a senseless swim.
And drowning?
Swimming lapse.