Schneider

We had nothing but rags
Bags of old costumes
Piled in the corner
Of a dusty room
Discarded scraps
Of forgotten dreams
So I taught myself to sew
Building a tapestry
Of my patchwork life
Knees folded on the
Chilly bathroom floor
Its cracked blue lino
Like ocean waves
The tattered curtain
Tucked up over the rail
Learning to navigate
By feel and intuition
As I frowned
Squinting at my needle
Trying to get the thread
Through a tiny hole
In the mushroom-coloured dusk
At the awkward age
Of thirteen years and one month
I wore them out
My colourful creations
And people stared
Admiring and mocking
In equal amounts
When I grew
Good enough
That you could see
Design in my skilful
Manipulation
Of throw-away stuffs
I sold some
For coin, or bartered favours
Tailors can be born
And they can be made
I took commissions
If you could describe it
The perfect dress
I could draw it in my head
Then threading your dream
Through my careful fingers
Seam by seam
I could make it
Come alive

Hidden Agenda

Well-versed in deflection
Adept sleight-of-eye
We swallow confection
No hint of a lie

With no information
To pad out the cues
We’re sunk in deflation
That borders abuse

And used to the stories
So rarely explained
We vote for HisTories
And nothing is gained

Consistent imprudence
Of well-feathered nest
Career jurisprudence
You-know-who knows best

We’re damned by inaction
To more of the same
A knee-jerk reaction
And someone to blame

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

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.