Poet at the Job Centre

“Hello Ms. Poet. What happened this time?
You lasted three days with Gregg’s the baker, I see.”

“Greggs are not fans of anarchy, Mr McGee!”
My hot words land like sand
In a swimsuit crotch.
“Greggs do not understand,” I say,
“That the hand that crimps pasties also writes poems,
And that sometimes the two get confused,
And I crimp searing words of truth into the pasty itself.
Words like hot turds into the toilet bowl of consciousness.
Words written in the pastry,
So that the display behind the glass can say,
Written out in steak bakes and bean surprise,
‘Tories Out! Out out out!'”

(This pastry-based political statement is even more powerful when one considers the pasty tax, which Cameron introduced several years ago. If anything, the situation has got even worse since then.)

“Righty-ho,” says Mr McGee, avoiding my gaze.
He seems in a daze,
Zapped senseless by my anarchist ways,
Mooing within his formica cage,
Milked until his juice runs beige.
Tied to his desk,
To his telephone,
Grazing like a bovine drone.

(Tbh he really does look a bit bovine,
Cos he’s thickset and he wears a white cricket jumper and cream trousers.
When he stands up he looks like a fridge.
But whatevs, wear what you like.
That’s what I say.)

Mr McGee peers at his screen and moos
“That’s a funny surname: ‘Poet’,
But there must be a mistake,
We don’t seem to have your first name in the system.”

I laugh.
“I am not in the system, Mr McGee.
I am not OF the system.
I fist the system with my poems.
The system pays me 51 quid a week,
Thinking it KEEPS me weak,
Thinking me prostitute while I loot the coffers so I can feed on beans and wake the drones from their sleep one searing turd at a time.”

“Oh-kaaaay” says he,
“But what’s your actual name? I just want your name.
That’s it. Just your name.
No need to make this complicated.
Just your name.

I laugh. Louder this time.
“My name is The Poet.
I had it changed by deed poll because
I am what I do and
I do what I am and
I am what I do and
I do what I am.
An infinity of reflective loops into the core of my being
Which is feeling and expressing and the absurdity of word-ity
To convey the who I was and am and want and will be.
I am The Poet.

Just like if you changed your name,
You’d be “The Human Rhombus.”

(Because Mr McGee tilts his head and leans to the side in his chair,
Like a wonky fridge you’d find in a skip.)

The End.

They’ve now put me on Working Tax Credit instead of Job Seekers, which is an acknowledgement that my poetry is indeed “work” (even if no-one ever pays me for it). It means I’ve had to switch advisors and I don’t see Mr McGee anymore, but I’m planning to write him a poem entitled ‘Fridge’ to say thanks.


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