The Pragmatist

by Neetu Malik
The Pragmatist

He is afraid
          of open spaces,
which fade
into the 

become shining dots and glimmering lines
of nothingness

he fears mirages;
they make his head spin,
give him migraines

he claims
there is 
nothing worse
than nausea

with stabbing pain

so he stays where
roots might grow 
under his feet

where he can build fences
and five-foot high walls

to be pain-free
and contained.


For Neetu, poetry is an expression of the rhythms of life and the human spirit, which strike different beats depending on the sounds and silences generated by experiences. She shares her writing on a few different platforms and is a frequent guest contributor to the Australia Times Poetry Magazine. She has also been published twice in The Poetic Bond Anthology, edited by Trevor Maynard, UK and published by Willowdown Books.

Neetu lives in Pennsylvania, USA.

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Created in 2014, Flashes is a privately owned literary website. We publish short stories, non-fiction, flash fiction and poetry. Our goal is to give talented writers a platform to showcase their creativity, with an emphasis on original voice, innovative style and challenging plots.


  1. Neetu

    I like ‘The Pragmatist’ as title, especially when this is followed up with undiluted commentary on his fears. It makes me wonder how the poet knows so definitely how he feels. I can see the way he dismisses open space and appears to equate health with control, via (self-)containment, as though possibilities must be reined in to prevent sickness. By the time ‘he claims’ I am on surer ground. He must uphold his theories so gives himself practical things to do. Safety rules and fulfilment seems to ‘fade / into the distance’. There is considerable irony in your last stanza.

    1. Thank you, Katrina, I am glad for your comment, as always. What the poet sees and attempts to convey is best done through a degree of irony. You have made some very astute observations. The poet is also an observer and is offering a commentary on those observations.

    1. Oops, I don’t know why it says your comment is awaiting moderation, Lindy. I am puzzled. I just want to thank you!

      1. All comments await moderation Neetu, not only yours 🙂 It’s something built in in this environment, a sort of precaution perhaps to keep out trolling outsiders.

    1. Ah, Buzz, so happy you came by to read my poem! Thank you. I hadn’t thought of it but now that you mention it, I will. I am not a good publicist for my own poetry, am I?

  2. I wouldn’t change a word or play with the format in any way. The white space before “of open spaces,” is brilliant. And, as Kat pointed out, the ironic connection between the title and the character’s torpor, is also brilliant. This is one of the finest poems from one of our finest poets, and if it hasn’t been published already, please do us all a favour and submit.

    1. I am so sorry, Clark, I didn’t see your comment sooner! Lol, I can’t change a thing even if I wanted to. It is published here, see?
      Thank you for your kind words about me. Your encouragement has brought me this far and it keeps me going.

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