A Better Life

A poem inspired by newspaper stories of modern day slavery.

She wears a surgeon’s mask
To graft beneath the glare
Fourteen hours at the task
While passing shoppers stare

Threading eyebrows, buffing nails
It’s hardly a fresh start
Housewives sharing sad tales
Won’t mend her broken heart

A mattress on concrete
Is where she makes her bed
Other's heads at her feet
Twelve cramped inside a shed

Wanting a better life
Borrowing on the chance
She could be Ernie’s wife
But he just wants her to dance

Checkout Captain

They might annoy you getting all control freaky about queuing but they’ll guide you to that delicatessen, no messing. A poem about Checkout Captains. It’s not an easy job. Imagine spending all day next to irate, shuffling shoppers with only celeb magazines, or being sent to check prices on celery for stimulation.

The sign says, ‘Ten items or less’
Trouble is, you’ve got eleven
Shopping becomes a hellish stress
When it should be shopping heaven

Checkout captain to the rescue
With headset and foam pointy hand
She’ll guide you through to the shortest queue
Conveyor belt to the promised land

Photos in a barbershop

I had to go and get my haircut and, as the new barbers (with the little hospital bed type-TVs showing Monster trucks on the Discovery channel) was rammed I went ‘old-school.’ Yes, I went to Ted’s for a short-back-and-sides and was delighted to see little had changed. Even the photos showcasing haircuts I’d never seen Ted give still had pride of place on the woodchip walls.

Spiky and wet-look and demi-wave
Tight perms and mullets, towel for a shave
Models in chinos wearing white vests
Distant stares, they’re the spit of Go West

Take your pick if you’re in the market
Punk, flat top or a Morten Harket
Framed on the wall, they’re the chosen few
Unloved and unchanged since ‘92