Militant Thistles

polemical poetry to prickle the politics of "permanent austerity"

atos Poor Doors Sheriff Stars spikes

thistles stretch their prickly arms afar

Black Triangle bedroom tax Disrupt and Upset

Tanner

most probably

 

all of us

whoever we are

are just sitting there

in the jobcentre

waiting

with this one light

flickering,

this one long rectangle light

blinking,

buzzing

like an injured wasp

having death throe

after death throe:

buzz buzz buzz

blink blink blink

for half an hour … an hour and a half … two hours and five minutes:

buzz buzz buzz

blink blink blink

 

until

finally this big dude says JESUS CHRIST and he gets up, stands on his chair

and punches up at it –

the dimpled rectangular casing clattered over his shoulder and onto the floor

and then, right, he wrenches the bulb out of the ceiling,

and it’s hot so he runs over to the doors hissing SHIT, SHIT, SHIT

and flings it outside – we hear it smash on the steps

and then he stands there

waving his red hand

as he looks around at us all,

says sorry, but that was getting me on tits

 

and you know what the staff did? nothing.

in fact:

thank god, one of the girls at the desks whispered to another.

that was getting on my tits and all, that was, she said

as her colleague nodded,

eyeing the big dude

up and down.

even the security guard just shook his head

and smiled patiently.

well, he was a foot shorter than him.

 

that big dude,

he will probably get a job changing jobcentre light bulbs,

they’ll hand him some title

like “council light distributor apprentice”

or something

 

and he’ll be changing the buzzing bulbs

above your head

for years to come.  

Tanner congealed in Liverpool tomorrow. A novel, Jobseeker (2016), on Amazon now. Orbis, Decanto, Krax, Brittle Star, Erbacce, The Journal, Splizz, Magma, Purple Patch, Urban District Writer (urban district writer '08 award), Dawntreader, Rialto, Pulsar, Runcible Spoon, The Crazy Oik, Penniless Press magazine, Monkey Kettle, Rain Dog. Three poetry collections published by The Penniless Press: The Ism Prison (2012), Class Act (2015), Shop Talk - Poems for Shop Workers (Oct 2019).

“jobsearch” course 85

 

 

there are rooms

in your town

you have never seen

 

rooms on the outskirts of your town

grey plastic rooms

owned by your council

 

and in these rooms

they put us:

the terminally unemployed

you have never seen us either

but we are here

in these grey plastic council rooms

on the outskirts of your town

 

more and more of us

crammed into

more and more of these rooms,

running along the outskirts of your town

a grey plastic ring

of council rooms

surrounding your affluent centre

 

swelling, closing in

 

one day

your whole town

will be a grey plastic council room

 

and then you will see us.