Work and Living in the UK
The shifts are
twelve hour shifts
and a worker’s biggest daily struggle is,
as often is the case with repetitive jobs,
There is also exhaustion,
you are, after all
working for the better part of a day,
but you can fight exhaustion
with a good meal and some courage.
Boredom is a different beast.
It requires you to dig deep.
It requires some philosophy.
You have to be okay with who
you are to deal
Sometimes the boredom
will become so grand
you’ll fake a bathroom visit
just so you steal away ten minutes
of not being a cog
in a machine you can’t know where it begins
and where it ends—
the warehouse is so big.
And you’ll sprinkle some piss
and then wash your hands
and then your face
and then look at yourself in the mirror
“I didn’t know you to
be so lazy”.
It’s the repetition
It will get anyone.
Anyone with a soul,
no matter how desperate.
I don’t care if you’re
a single father with three daughters
and one of them is
not all up there in her head,
and you have to make target everyday,
you’ll still visit those bathrooms
more than your bladder needs you to—
those bathrooms are always full.
And then there’s the demeaning moment of
waiting to clock out, finally.
All of you in a line, trying to respect
the social distancing rule
but doing a terrible job at trying,
some not even trying at all,
and some just staring at that last minute
in the clock, ticking slowly towards
the end of our shifts.
And then, finally, a breath away from leaving,
you have to go through security
because apparently, people steal,
it’s a warehouse after all
a monkey can do it.
Don’t expect to find the
elite of Bucharest here.
And then, zoom out from work
and you have daily life
because you have to live too,
at least just a little.
And so the days
pass slithering from your life
in bad and cold and wet weather—
obnoxious snow every other day,
in the kitchen over the stove
cooking or doing laundry
taking up books again and weed
and getting an Amazon prime account
because you have to have things
to look forward to.
Otherwise life just sucks.
You have to have some things.
Just some aggressive fucking
and alcohol and a movie
and a Macdonald’s meal every week
is not enough.
“We should fire some weapons”,
you tell her
panting still and sweaty on the bed,
“There’s a firing range close by
we should check it out one of these days.”
Or maybe go to Scotland for the weekend.
Ride some horses. Learn new poets.
We could go skydiving, she says.
No, fuck that. I wouldn’t do it
if they paid me.
And then her hand
is reaching for your dick
again and soon her lips follow
and you’re thinking about things
to look forward to,
and that you need more of them.
That this is like a silent but very loud
scream of fear.
To need more and more things to look forward
to. Like a fear of death.
A middle age crisis
on your late twenties.
you’ll never blow your nose
you are that self conscious.
You’re thinking that
you’ve wished for your own death
with a whole hearted honesty
but how does one decisively
jump in a pool of nothingness
without second guessing
how to slip into an irreversible
and forever-going and amnesiac
without looking back.
You’re thinking that it’s nightmarish
to get stuck in a public bathroom
and reaching for toilet paper
after a hopeless shit you couldn’t avoid
and not finding any.
What else would one do
but scream for help?
You’re thinking there’s
a broken spring in your bed
and it’s fucking with your back.
That it’s snowing outside
and that inside it’s nice and warm
and that she is nice and warm on you.
That lust is like rabies when it gets a hold of you,
and that there is a lot of mindless violence
out there and ruthless competition
and that you have to be really careful
if you want to make it
if you want the house and the car and the garage
and the dog and your peace of mind—
none of it easy
you have to be weary of people
most of them don’t want you in peace
most people are polar bears feasting
on guts and blood
and that the modern poem has become
more like the writer
talking to himself
rather than the writer
that writes a letter with heart and dream and mind
and puts it in an almost empty whiskey bottle
and then sets it on the waves and watches it go.
You are hot she says
touching your thigh with her lips,
meaning your temperature
thank you, you say,
I work out and she laughs
and says hotboxing a car
is called submarine in Bulgaria
and you laugh
because you’re high and she plucks
hair from your chest
and she has an ear fetish
and you don’t work tomorrow.
Previously published at The Beatnik Cowboy