It was first called ‘Welfare’
by a proud state,
no more ideal,
we are now told to berate:
Ever less likely to be
paid to me,
freelance, with Parkinson’s,
Welfare, not there, services sold,
uprooting the ill, the poor, the old:
Any vacuum is filled, so it is said,
but they’ll suffocate welfare until it’s dead:
One nation built high
on the backs of the old,
we should pay more in tax
so our welfare’s not sold.
The sun momentarily exploded,
from behind fleet clouds,
then gone, sleet-showered,
a return to mourn-shift-shrouds.
Seven days before, without the ice,
this team was crushed in a one-sided match,
so in training our stick-kids are bellowed at:
– On to the ball!
– Off the ball!
– Down the line!
– Mark-him, mark-him!
The coach, never mellows.
Bunched fathers and mothers,
now soaked, are hardly talking
as the minutes dribble
to the end of the session:
Murmurs in the long-stood section,
– Is it ten, does he know?
Eventually, after extra time,
The coach lets them go.
We parents are first in the cars,
door-slammed, venting at nature:
Our dripping-kids stare at the sky,
and wish for release from failure.
Friday, I think, I partied late in the night,
throwing rookies with kids, to their delight:
A crafted toss of farmers’ munitions,
as parents blew cancer cloud emissions:
One screeched at her child, ‘Stand well back!’
(a danger she glimpsed through her cig-smoke-stack).
I showed a lad how to light the short fuse,
quick fingers gripped the lit-fizzing tube.
That rookie he tossed into uncut grass,
flame-furious complaint pre-empt of blast:
Exploded jump-thump of pressure on chest,
the rook scarer’s life, an explosion, no less.
– Looking nice Michael,
been somewhere special?
– Funeral. In the bloody rain.
Two pints of bitter, froth flat,
stand alongside the boozers,
as they then chat about the showers,
long-passed, and bloody penguins.
One of them, not Michael,
has the look of Rupert Murdoch.
Pints are refilled, the urinal next –
it takes more visits these days.
– Michael, you dressed this well
last time you was wed.. hahaha..
Ceiling beams, once chiselled
by equally beery men,
prop the roof of the bar
and threaten the non-stooped:
the timbers are black-slapped in gloss,
they ooze a shine like ships’ tar.
Old age brings advantages,
and shrinkages and breakages.
A handshake, another drinker,
greeting Michael, not Mike (too old,
not Mick, too straight)
all to the hubbub, ice-chink,
bandit complaint, and clink
of glass and bar. Michael smiles.