Louise Wakeling – Akrasia

Wakeling LE P&W 6 Nov-Dec 2023

Download PDF Here
14th Anniversary Edition, Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume Six Nov-Dec 2023.

Akrasia, poems by Louise Wakeling.


“Procrastination is the thief of time.”
Edward Young, Night Thoughts 1742.

a deadline’s a radar    surveillance camera
limbo bar you’re trying to shimmy under
you can put off what puts you off    but deadlines
are called that for a reason – they extend
only so far    pink physio bands

re-building torn tendons    they snap back at you
when you’re least prepared   procrastination
buys you time    you’re a rebel   a regime critic
slamming the phone down on a dictator
finalising his death-list

or are you a dreamer   over-doer
drive-to-delay cancelling out
drive-to-act    should you resist
the urge to self-regulate    or just capitulate
sign up for behaviour therapy

you’re threatened:    the task
is a tiger that makes you sweat
you’re opting for pleasure over pain
limbic attachment over aversion
(year after year it steals till all are fled)

postpone your tax return and time’s
stretched to a delicate work-life balance
that’s only partly imaginary
shelving today what must be done
tomorrow (and tomorrow and tomorrow)

when the task’s done and dusted
it’s adrenalin now meanwhile
your bugbear goes to ground
in some nether-world of the sub-conscious
tasks mulled over

trampled into wine dissolved
or solved always the sweetest
those hours filched from the stalker
who prowls at your windows
scowls in your dream-factory

you give in to feeling good binge
on Nordic noir plant a white waratah
start a garage clean-up – put that
on the back-burner too write a poem
instead about…… procrastination

panic room   

rich people stackin’ the deck, 
rich people with big fat cheques,
rich people they’re havin’ a ball,
rich people are fuckin’ us all
Carsie Blanton, “Rich people”(song)

out of the question for most of us
though some find a safe room
of a sort    holed up in Stone Age dens
without power or heating    crannies
in buildings reduced to rubble
and collapsed walls
in the world-domination stakes
kleptocrats make genocide
great again    spark inventive ways
to weather darkness and winter
swarms of kamikaze drones
hunting in packs

priest-holes were all the rage
in Elizabethan manor-houses
false-backed shelves and hidden stairways
fire-places or mediaeval drains saved
or suffocated fugitive priests
now panic rooms are rich people’s
bolt-holes   you can retreat
into a Castle Keep when under siege.
a billionaire’s man-cave: the perfect place
to stow your dinner-guests
when covid cops come calling

you pay for privacy rooms-within-rooms
spin-offs of the gated community
bullet and explosive proof climate-controlled
micro-fortresses steel-and-concrete
bunkers enfold rare artwork computer files
billiard cues and your favourite tipple

rest easy uber-wealthy when the world’s
in meltdown you’ll be safe
behind those hidden doors
and mortise locks all kitted-out
and primed for Armageddon

© Louise Wakeling

Born near Botany Bay in Sydney, Louise Wakeling currently lives in Dharug and Gundungurra country. Her poetry, published in journals, anthologies and four collections, considers the shifting sands of relationships, and the ways in which the past resurfaces in the present.  Particular concerns are the co-existence of humans with other species, and the palpable impact of climate change on the environment. Wakeling’s most recent collection, Off Limits (Puncher & Wattmann, 2021), probes Sydney’s edgy spaces, past and present, and the ordinary and extraordinary people who inhabit them.  She is especially interested in ekphrastic poetry.  Currently, she is working on a fifth collection exploring the idea of movement across boundaries, and a novel about the impact of inter-generational trauma in the lives of three Sydney women.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.