Bred and Buttered Up

These streets of my childhood
Were once crawling with rats
Now the plebs that grew up here
Are priced out of their flats
By an influx of “Yah, Darling!”
Grousing fat cats
Whose stake in their locale
Is served with ‘tomates’.

I Dun No Public More a Lie Tee

Make your mark
Then make them pay
For the joy
And for the peace

Of you trotting
On your way
Buoyed with cash
Of slow release

One might struggle
Protest long
Keep spinning out
An oft-tried ruse

That this moment
They are wrung
Well out of readies,
Truth, Good News.

But this just means
There’s something there
That’s worth the trouble
Every time

So do, persist
Without a care
For what was theirs
Will soon be thine

And groans, protesting
Empty purse
Aren’t like to foil
A seasoned pro

Imagination’s
Always worse
They’ll come around
Before you know

And where it seems
A stalemate stands
Increase the pressure
Of your grip

Upon their senses
Underhand
It’s no great trial
To play a trick

The argument
That less is more
Impress on them
Who’s number one

A pocket finger –
(Pen-knife-gun?!)
Will trump their greed
And you’ll have won

Humanitarian Crisis

I worked late today
In the usual way
Then stood long for a bus
While ignoring the fuss
All the placards and song
Of a protesting throng

When the first one came full
Joined the back of the queue
‘Til I hopped on the second
No wiser, I reckoned
To pressure or purpose
That brought out the workforce

I sat in my headphones
Absorbing through eardrums
The tunes of a playlist
Unchanged through two ages
And stared through graffiti
At people beneath me

Not knowing, nor caring
What fate we were sharing
Familiar landscape blurred
Into the sounds I heard
Hopped off three stops early
Finished one journey

I trudged ‘cross the common
To see if I’d find one
More bus driver’s hubs
Standing still by the pubs
Sure enough, there I saw
Not just one, but some four

When one finally, late
Put his pedal to plate
He pulled up to the tavern
Waved me past his cabin
For NFC, broken
Would not zap my token

I settled inside
Chose a tune for my ride
But two stops, no further
We stopped in a lather
Five kids, come from school
With no change to fare-pool

Tried to board, barter, beg
But compassion was neg.
As commuters grew restless
One woman, well-dressed, stressed
Their selfishness loudly
“Eff off!” she yelled, proudly

Some gentleman, small
Added footage to gall
Thus the youths took offense
At this lack of good sense
And a row quickly rose
As his phone met his toes

While we waited, suspended
To see what might end it
Some ran for the next bus
Some added their voices
And called for policemen
To make them see reason

It took three more stops
And a call to the cops
But not one among us
Could hit on the obvious
Tempers grew heated
As workers felt cheated

Ashamed, I forgot
Or I simply did not
Check I had enough money
Available, on me
To throw them a bone
So we’d all make it home.

The Trade

Where is this freedom
Promised me
When first they told me
Work makes free?

I look around
And know I’m lost –
What’s free I buy
At such a cost

No youth, enjoyment
Holidays
Solid employment
Only pays

In minted coin
As all are robbed
Of our free time
We’re bobbed and jobbed

And pensioned off
Freely to freeze
As Winter brings us
To our knees

A lifetime spent
In servitude
While taking care
To save on food

Essentials only
Frugal thrift
Is hardly free
To those who drift

Through twilit streets
And shopping malls
In suits and boots
Or overalls

No longer knowing
Why they strive
For Freedom finds
Few left alive

Saturday Sadness

You wanted to come here to show me off
Your symbol of success, transition
Working class no longer, toff
In all opinion, loud derision

So I sit and watch the bald patch
Slow expanding on your head
Your eyes both glued to latest gadget
Showing off your wealth instead

I sip my coffee, not as silent
As the trophy WAGs should stay
While strangers’ pallid faces highlight
All you do and all I say

There was a time, almost forgotten
By the one who paid today
I’d make you think and laughing rotten,
Lift your moodiness away.

When shining eyes met laughter lines
Two grins curved freely over cake
And sugar seemed less of a crime
With more forgive and much less take

Impious, I once held your gaze
Without the need for sabotage
Of smart phone: screen of lesser rays
Replaced your smile with time on charge

We sit and comment on our drinks
You read the news in silent thought
I wonder at these forty winks
That hold our lives to what we’ve bought

Freebies

Why is it acceptable
To offer unpaid work
Expect someone to carry out
The duties others shirk

Without the basic dignity
Of taking home a wage
To compensate them for the time
They’ve bottled up their rage

To cover bills and buy their food
And clothing, pay the rent
Do people somehow think
That volunteering’s time well spent

When everything around us
Has associated fees
(We buy natural resources, water,
Light, heat, air and trees)

Save workers from stupidity
And keep us free from debt
You can’t afford to go without
The things we do, and yet

You’d rather keep the cash
Than spend it on a junior role
So tell us why your profit costs
Another man his soul?

Greed

My fellows in frailty
Oh, most lustful race
Whose gluttonous ways
Best describe our true face

As vulgar ambition
That drives ever on
Marks our human condition
By all that we’ve done

May be in one mouthful
Both blessing and curse
Our fall ever further
And Fortune’s reverse

Depend on a viewpoint
That mirrors your own
Your vision won’t falter
While you stay at home

But venturing out
To a world of the strange
Perspectives may hastily
Be rearranged

For never true anarchy
Will be the rule
While ‘me first’ is master
Of all that we do

And selfless ideals
Tend to trip on the stairs
When those who would win
Start believing in dares

It’s vanity, clearly
Imagine us living
So greedy investors
May profit from giving

We’re all keeping score
For an eye, want an eye
No charity scheme
Runs on dreams that won’t fly

J-Epic

Jennifer made such a pact with her John,
swore that their love would live on and anon
together they’d dwell, in some cottage on high
but little she knew that her pact was a lie.

For John had another, a charming young gel,
with whom, as it happened, he too’d vowed to dwell:
Poor sweet Josephine was barely out of school
but well-versed in the art of turning men to fools.

She’d wrapped John around like a bandage on thumb.
Jenny could do nothing, but feel rather glum,
as of this attachment, her John had stayed mum;
so being a bright girl, she chose to have fun.

Jen went to a party, dressed all in her best.
The music was loud, and so were all the guests.
Such boisterous antics you never did see
as what passed for dancing at Jenny’s party.

Now Jo was frustrated, she’d heard of this soiree,
but John wouldn’t take her, she swore he’d be sorry.
As she raved and she ranted, dear John got an inkling
that Jo wasn’t quite the sweet flow’r he’d been thinking.

So John took a leaf from a book known to all
womankind whose minds turn as from summer to fall,
and he called up his Jenny, but got quite a fright
when a deep voice responded – and after midnight!

Now Jake was a boxer – quite muscled and mean.
He looked fierce, but treated our Jen like a queen.
He revelled in taking her out on the town,
and showing her off in her best evening gown.

It happened one night that the foursome did meet
and awkwardly stood for a while in the street,
while Jo sized up Jenny, and John stared at Jake,
until Jake whispered low – now that runt I could take!

Just give me the word, Jenny dear, and ’tis done.
This fool should have kept you as his number one,
but he preferred flat-chested chit over there –
the one still in pigtails, who waxes her hair.

But Jenny said shush with a smile and a laugh.
What’s done is now done, no need for a bloodbath.
He’s seen what he’s missing – and for the last time.
Now let us move on – weren’t we going to dine?

The couple swept off in their silks and their furs,
and John saw his Jen finally had got hers.
He turned to see Jo with her face turning pink
clearly about to let fly with some stink.

But instead of attempting to stem her mid-flow,
John just gave a sigh as he turned round to go,
and Jo stood astounded to see that her fit
was being ignored by dear John – what a git!

So put out was our young miss by male restraint
that she flagged down a taxi and left John to paint
the town red on his own, for she cared not a bit
that her leaving was dumping him right in the shit.

For Jo’s mother had taught her, while still in the cot,
that while young, there’d be more fish to catch with a yacht.
So Jo set to fishing, and this with a will,
and John was left high, dry, and feeling quite ill.

It’s a hard knock life

Caught between insolvency
And fast dwindling sanity
My mind slowly numbed
By the daily inanity:
To pay our rent and bills
That roll in despite my thrift
I prostitute my skills
And in limbo I must drift.
To utilise my brain
Or my imagination
At work would be insane
An idea far above my station:
The humble secretary
Must lighten others’ loads
Polite, always on time
And in nicely fitting clothes.
We mustn’t get too comfy
Or feel we are unique
As, impertinent, we’re fired
If we don’t turn the other cheek.
I hope my childrens’ children
Will not have to do the same
As what they term ‘profession’
Is truly a mug’s game.