Snake Oil, Sass and Razzamatazz

I envy those women in the magazines
It goes back to something missing from my teens

Their white trouser, silk blouse lifestyle
When pimples and bad hair were my style

Do I deserve their barefoot walks on the beach
With a dog whose perm is out of my reach?

Can I emulate their effortless charm
In a climate where thick vests are the norm?

And as advertising copy is rife
Where do I sign up for their perfect life?

With a spouse who is polite to my mum
And a car that is the envy of some…

Or is that only alive on the page
While we sigh, we buy, but bicker and rage?

What has happened to us living the dream
In a home of painted white wood and cream?

How are we supposed to manage to burn
All the endless stuff they tell us to earn?

And as pensioners smile sweetly at kids
While their offspring bust a gut on the skids

Keeping families from floating away
Working harder, longer hours each day

For an ad campaigner, trainer, shamer
Knows no namer, public blamer

Never better, next trend setter
Panty wetter, promo debtor

How is this for living the dream
We grip tighter than our miracle cream?

Indiscriminate Despair

A million subtle put-downs
In a thousand different ways
A wasted opportunity
Career path gone astray

A couple of promotions too
That went to someone else
With not as much experience
Nor vision, knowledge, skills

Adjusting one’s ambition
‘Til it fits within the norm
A lukewarm lover’s mission
To accept what still goes on

We breed another row
Of middle-rankers in our turn
Forgetting what we wanted
Was the change we couldn’t earn

The Reckoning

In these fractions I seek solace
That infarction is no menace
To my own unknown condition
Though my colleague lies on trollies
As they fill her veins with serum
Hoping vasos are dilated
I’m surrounded by the vision
Such careers are overrated
In my secretary’s costume
I must take on further duties
Try to prop up one more rostrum
And ignore last rites for loot. He’s
Working from his home computer
While I ride the bus to nowhere
In the misty morning chatter
That’s conceived to make me go there
How much more am I allotted?
This existence, mere survival
Will I too go out, garotted
By a heart attack unrivalled?
As my logic fails, convince me;
I’ve decisions that are burning
Every inch would rather lynch me
Than continue painful earning.

Although I rarely explain my scribblings, as I prefer to let the reader interpret them at will, this poem, and the one that follows are written in response to a recent event. The woman with whom I share a desk at my day job suffered a heart attack this week. The events on that occasion and which have followed have caused me to question our place in the universe with perhaps more focused ferocity than usual.

Untitled

This is the place we come to die
We secretaries, in our rows
Two frozen stiffs, a living lie
Few care to note, and no one knows.

While patient, we sit out our time
In managing capricious men
Whose fruitless whims, though not malign
Wear lines on brows and fray each hem.

One more may chew on dust this hour
No more to block electric space
In diary; a heart lacks power
To beat a path through empty wastes.

We are not dumb, and yet, we wait
Preparing meeting rooms, hot drinks
Awaiting proof; appreciate
A mind, unheeded, soul that shrinks

And though the autopsy infers
What killed her was nobody’s fault
That one can prove, (except for hers)
With such a sedentary vault

Of memories of closet, desk,
A filing cabinet to store
The means of murder – this slow death
Made up of tedium and chore.

A Capital Man

Our bold Mayor of London
In spite of his burdens
Has chosen to cross
To the North bank again

The party political
Must have been calling
For stickier wickets
Inside number ten.

Conservative tastes
And the right education
Would make him a candidate
Proud to display

Strong family values…
Unchecked dedication
To national causes
That brook no delay.

He plots to return
To his life in the fast lane –
Trade in the bike for a
Chauffeur and Jag

No skimming the fine print
For that would be cheating
And soon on the map
He’ll be planting his flag.

Alas, the election
Requires some sacrifice
Two hefty titles
To shoulder at once

But that shouldn’t be hard
For a Machiavellian
Spinner of dreams
Used to acting the dunce.

So he’s setting his cap
At those hard-to-reach voters
More mums on the run
Far too busy to check

If this scruffy buffoon’s
Just an overgrown schoolboy;
The first among men,
Or a knife to the neck.

I am not a poet

I’m not black, not gifted, not even young
Never carried a knife to school, nor a gun
Have yet to feature on the ten most wanted
In the hit parade, no mention, by the tabloids I’m untaunted

For the paparazzi never follow me
Don’t flash my scanties for the scallies snorting coke at a party
I can move quite freely round the city streets
Nobody cares about my politics, my weight or bad habits

So you see I don’t meet the entry criteria
Just don’t belong to this mass-hysteria
Nobody feels guilty for my persecution
And I can’t expect apologies or contributions

I never sniffed glue, huffed paint or tried to get high
When there were chores to do, I did them, when I earned I put some by
My youth was not exactly what you’d call misspent
I never caught religious fervour, I’m not trying to repent

My dad stayed home while my mum worked late
We survived without the help of the welfare state
I never got fondled by an errant priest
Not been arrested for possession, prostitution by police

So you won’t see my poems in the magazines
Nor my biopic on your TV screens
For my stable mind and my legal status
Have put me into some sort of poetic hiatus

I can scribble it all down, every golden word
But it is nothing but frustrating if I try to get them heard
For the world is only int’rested in marketing a brand
And the labels all prefer to form their perfect, packaged band

Yeah, I write rap lyrics but I don’t perform them
So my street cred is a lie worn by some kid whose fans adore him
For the master wordsmith that can represent
Who gets his bling and ghetto styling from a Knightsbridge gent

Don’t try to kid yourself that I’m some kind of poet
I’m not down with any peeps, not cool, and don’t I bloody know it!
For nice, polite, well brought up, and hard working women
Can only write the life they know, and that won’t sell a single poem.