The Easy Skank

Whatever happened to
The easy skank?

Easy skanking
Was a way of life
For some.
An aspiration for others
And a safety net
For us all.

Easy skanking
Was the awkward
Academic
Hidden away in a
Dusty room
Emerging infrequently
(lectures mainly)
Reading
Writing
No pressure
And maybe
Finding out
Something amazing

Easy skanking
Was young people
Refusing to be
Sucked into the
Vortex of corporate work
Discovering
Exploring
Truths of their own
And the world.

The easy skank
Was the dream of the
Burnt-out wage slave
“At least I’ll be able to
Get an easy skank”
He would say.
And dream of ending
His working days
Doing not very much
For a decent week’s pay.

Easy skanking was Bristow.
Easy skanking was punk.

Nowadays
Targets, measurement, policy
And AI seek out the hiding
Places of skanking and
Emotionlessly eradicate them in the name
Of efficiency and profit.

We’re richer for it.
Apparently.

But all I see is poverty of souls.

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The Shabby Suit

Eight or so years ago, I wrote a poem entitled The Shabby Suit while sat in the concourse of Sheffield railway station watching the world go by. In the years that followed, events would cause me to think about the poem. On a couple of occasions I even searched for it in my boxes of scribbles – to no avail.

Earlier this morning I was having a clearout, and guess what fell out of a dog-eared notebook? A folded A4 sheet with said poem scrawled on it. Allow me to share it with you – was it worth the wait?

The Shabby Suit

Once upon a time
It was a source of pride
It indicated that he was
Getting ahead,
That he was important
Somebody;
He wore a tie.

I see him today on the
First delicate,
Beautiful
Day of spring.
Young students sharing discoveries
In scruffy jeans
Hobos smiling and observing
Beauty via a can
Of beer.

He regards the love of others
And envies it.
For the thing that
Once meant so much
To him and
Defined his
Existence
Is now threadbare and
Worn.

He has fallen out of love
With its symbolism
It is old and grey
Like the man himself
And he realises
There’s nothing else.

Gonna Start a Revolution From My Bed

Bed

Unmade Bed – Photo by Montag

I’ve been working in Manchester of late, doing the seven-fifteen shuffle across the peak district – it is so dispiriting sometimes that it has been known to inspire poetry!

There must be something about commuting at this time of year that leads to polemics. Last year I wrote a fairly heartfelt post railing against the commercialisation of Christmas. And while this year the corporate feeding frenzy seems to have been toned down a bit, you can bet your penultimate pound that they are working hard to manipulate us in a myriad of subtle ways.

Anyway to revolutions, beds and the like. Stumbling off my commuter carriage into the murk of Manchester Piccadilly station, I was struck by the multitude of ‘revenue protection agents’. In an instant, modern society seemed clear to me. All this effort goes into protecting revenue – not a man shall cross the threshold between platform and concourse without their purchase credentials being checked. Continue reading