Football Widows

Abandoned Things: Deflated Football 02 by longzijun

Football Widows
 
Keep your head down,
Nod along,
To the chatter at work and down the pub.
See out the season –
Silent and strong
Whenever the ask you “what’s your club ?”
Just shrug and smile
And change the topic,
Even sheepishly confess
“It’s not my thing”,
And quietly drop it,
Shuffling back to the wilderness.
Don’t get smug
How partisan
Their view of the pitch is – they already know !
The offside outrage
Of the av’rage fan
Is part of the fun, and all for show.
So make no fuss,
Keep your comments mum,
And join the sweepstake for the whatever-cup.
The topic will change
And your chance will come –
Keep your eye on the ball, and don’t give up !

Job-Locked

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Job-Locked

It’s never been as easy as now
To apply for a brand new job –
A couple of clicks on the morning train
And your old boss’s loss is your new boss’s gain.
Except…you’re one of the millions now,
A lone CV in the mob –
And all those skills it took years to master,
The algorithm can reject ever faster.

We’re all sending pleas into the void,
Just begging for a happier lot
We’re bored and stressed in our current roles,
Our daily slog has poisoned our souls.
We grumble away with our hope destroyed,
As the years see our futures rot.
We know precisely what we want to do,
But the gods says ‘not for the likes of you’.

Careers Advice

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Careers Advice

I’ve worked too long in a job that’s wrong,
That’s never suited me –
I don’t enjoy my long employ,
But now I can’t break free !

To pay the bills, I’ve built up skills
That aren’t of use elsewhere –
But if I quit, my face won’t fit,
My peg is far too square.

I’d have to start to learn an art
From back on the fact’ry floor –
It could take years of rent arrears,
Till my payslips aren’t so poor.

So kids, choose wise which bunch of guys
You wish to call your own –
For once you’ve gone a decade on,
Your path is set in stone.

Office Shrub

Office Shrub 

I saw the plant through the window of the meeting room
A bedraggled thing –
Clearly wilted, but not yet quite in the waterless tomb –
Determined to cling.
But every time I passed, the space was fulfilling its mission,
Hosting a crowd –
I hadn’t a hope of providing the patient a little nutrition,
Or sparing the shroud.
Not unless I fancied talking of paradigm shifts
And stakeholder rights,
Or talking shop about new regulations and faulty lifts
Between doughnut bites.
Until, at last, while walking by on my way to the train,
And a forlorn glance –
The lights were out, but the hallway fluorescents leaked through the pane…
I took my chance.
I had just a drop in my water bottle, to break the drought
With barely a stream –
But I saw some dregs in the coffee cups that were strewn about
And a pot of cream.
And a leak in the corner of the room had collected on the window sill –
And that was its lot.
Then I never found that room so empty again, till a fire drill
Gave me a shot.
The rest of the time, I’d pass the window and flick my eyes,
To check its state,
But through endless workshops preaching the need to synergise,
It didn’t look great.
Yet when I finally proffered my notice, on my very last day,
I was glad to see,
That that poor and bedraggled little bit of green in amongst the grey
Was outlasting me.

Qwerty Sonata

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Qwerty Sonata

I can hear her fingers dancing, dancing,
Over the keyboard, rat-a-tat-tat.
The tempo always five-to-a-heartbeat –
I can tell her typing, wherever she’s sat.
Her fingernails, a little too long,
A tambourine of bracelets, an octave higher,
Grounded by the bass of the spacebar,
And the leak of her headphones bringing the choir.
  
I can hear our fingers dancing, dancing,
Stretching for shift, then back to home –
The double-letter quavers, the patter of delete,
And the rhythm of return as a metronome.
But not all keyboards are tuned the same,
Staccato or reverb in stroke-length and gauge.
I like it the most when we harmonise together –
An orchestra of typists, filling up the page.

We Never Type Alone

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We Never Type Alone

Ev’ry keystroke, ev’ry mouse click,
Somewhere, thousands of others are typing –
Sitting at our desks or staring at our phones,
And altogether tapping and swiping.
We’re part of a synchronised dance of the fingertips,
Pressing on the A and the N and the D,
And every typo is a dozen typos,
All made in perfect harmony.

Underlings

In Portugal… by Paul Fenwick

Underlings

We work in warrens, underground,
We’re basement-bound, beneath fluorescents.
Not much there that changes round –
The carpet-tiles are omnipresent.

There we shelter from the rat race,
Keep out of the sun’s harsh glare –
Jobs for life, because in that place
Ev’ryone forgets we’re here.

All the year is blurred together
In our air-conditioned limbo –
All the year is shirt-sleeve weather
Spent without a single window.

Coats and brollies shield us, though,
Between the entrance and the train –
Up there it could be fog or snow,
Down here, it’s overcast again.

It’s only once the clocks have changed
That we emerge before the dusk
To find the world has rearranged,
And we discard our woollen husks.

And then we notice how the Winter’s gone
And how the Spring has come.
How long have daffodils been on ?
Looks like we’ve missed cherry plum…

Scuttlebutt Scandals

Scuttlebutt Scandals

Rumour, gossip, and have-you-heard
Are back with a careless, venomous word.
Scurrilous whispers have their way –
They’re good enough for Salem and good enough today.
So who needs doubt or burden of proof,
When the tales are better than the boring truth ?
When even liberals are mongering fears,
With two-faced lattes and schadenfreud beers,
And even the press has dropped its mask
Of public int’rest, and sunk to the task.
Rumour, gossip, and feathers-and-tar
Has shown us all for the shits we are.
That’s you.  Yes, you.  With your bleeding heart,
You’re ev’ry bit the hypocrite as any old fart,
You Guardian readers, as catty as The Sun –
A few lives ruined, but you’ve had your fun.

Nine-to-Forever

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Nine-to-Forever

I long since came to a weary pact
With my ambition and self-esteem –
I gave them both the sack,
And they in turn have promised not to dream.

And with that, I put on my tie,
Polished my shoes, and buttoned my coat,
And dived headlong with barely a cry
Into the passion-snuffer’s throat.

I take-on full responsibility –
I knowingly rejected thrills
For mind-numbing futility
To let me eat and pay the bills –

I do the work with competence,
And nothing else – not even gripes.
It’s dangerous to drop your fence –
Don’t fall for pride, just sit and type…

I know I’m being used, each day,
I have to shrug, it’s just the norm.
There’s plenty far worse off, they say,
Be thankful that you’re in the warm.

And yet…can it be…?
That out there, somewhere, running free,
Some folks have a job they love ?
A job that’s always something new
And makes a diff’rence what they do,
And pays them more-than-well enough –
But ah, those kinds of job are precious few,
Not for the likes of me.

There are only so many fun jobs to go round,
They’re thin on the ground,
They’ve all been filled, or handed-down,
Father-to-son, the lucky tykes –
And none of them have a clue.
Most of the jobs are the sort that nobody likes,
But most of us do.

I have my hobbies, have my friends,
I make the best of tedium,
And live for the moment, live for the weekends –
And tell myself that something else will come…

But what must it be like, though,
To wake up with a smile ?
To do a job that’s worth-the-while ?
I guess I’ll never know…

I considered titling this poem 9 – ∞, but the two figures don’t look like they belongs in the same font.

Spasibo

Make Love Not War by Weisser

Spasibo

Vasily and Stanislav,
Though really their names don’t matter to us,
And how many others we’ll never hear of –
Remember their actions, but don’t make a fuss.
No statues raised, and that’s how it should be,
They aren’t special, they’re just good men
Who held their nerve and held their breath
Until it was safe to breathe agen.
They did their jobs, and did them well,
And gently reinserted the pin.
They passed the test and lived to tell,
And took their reprimands on the chin.