Dangerous, and literally unable to help oneself, unless one swims off toward one side. (Never against the rip) The implicit metaphor working well & the one-line form supports the action/emotion/ urge perfectly, Marion.
The most memorable and impactful one-liner I have ever read. Will probably be read and re-read for generations.
Just the mention of "rip tide" and the fear it engenders sends a quiver thru my spine. I live a block from the ocean and I was once engulfed in a rip tide current–me against the raging forces of nature. I was helpless but I prayed and I prayed and my prayers were somehow answered. Many have not been as fortunate.
What a wonderful poem. In one unpunctuated line you convey the breathless terror of this experience.
And in its brevity you convey the suddenness, the unexpectedness of the encounter.
Where I live there is a brand of surf products called "Rip Tide", which are supposed to be trendy. The lack of capitalization in your poem reminds me of how nature is no respecter of brands or persons, and how in the past, and in the future when that company has disappeared, the awesome terrifying power of the rip tide will still lurk beneath.
Wow Marion that just opened a whole new set of interesting parallels and raises your poem to another level! What a perfect and rich analogy.
In my experience often patients suffering from drug addiction have not only a sense of being swept along by a force outside their control, they also frequently suffer anxieties and even terror when they try to withdraw from the drug, and experience a sense of suffocation quite akin to drowning.
Also their lives are homogenized without the natural flow of ups and downs, just as your poem runs on without natural punctuation or capitalization.
At the beaches where I live swimmers caught in a rip usually need to be rescued by the surf lifesavers. Those suffering from addiction also rarely survive without the assistance of professional life savers such as doctors and counsellors.
And the final irony is that where I grew up the surf culture was rampant with drug taking, so the connection was there to be made if I had thought more about it!
Have you ever considered giving the poem a title which could make this other context more evident? Nothing too obvious but a subtle reference like "Beach Party" might be something to consider.