Poems by Jakob Zaaiman on Medium

Eye to keep

A contemporary poem

Jakob Zaaiman
3 min readNov 26, 2022

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Screenshot of Burt Lancaster in ‘The Swimmer’ .
Screenshot of Burt Lancaster in ‘The Swimmer’ (1968)

So like Burt Lancaster
In ‘The Swimmer’,
I somehow expected to have to swim walk
the long five miles back home
- on my own -
in the rain or in
the sunshiny rain,
and then to
have to face up to
a boarded up and
abandoned
and probably
uninhabitable
building.

Interestingly,
I don’t remember now
how I got back
that day. I have no memory
of the drive home that
there must have been.

When I tell people all this
they commend me on my ‘honesty’
but they don’t know what I’m talking about, because
- honestly -
this is not about honesty.

I had kids late in life
long after everyone else
- along with everything else -
and they came at a time when
- late in life -
everyone else had moved on
to other things.

Then one day
in a home improvement superstore,
with a brother-in-law
and his kids and my kids
and maybe some other kids
all mixed together
in a big gang of multiple kids -
he organising the stuff for me that other people had
already bought decades earlier,
and then me standing there seeing all of them
from a good twenty yards away
coaxing a laden trolley towards the checkout
it suddenly seemed to me that
none of these kids
including those designated by convention as ‘mine’
had really anything to do with me,
and that my kids
- despite the convention -
somehow probably properly belonged
to someone else altogether;
and that the truth was I had somehow
been pushed over into
someone else’s world.

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