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Madoc at the Job Centre
 
Told them I was a sailor, vast experience
first man to cross the Atlantic and all that
but would they listen, no, didn’t want to know.
They said a computer course was the thing,
that it would make an administrator out of me.
‘I can’t do that,’ I said ‘I’m a prince of the sea.’
I tried to explain the stars, the smells of the wind
the way tides shift, how to use a sextant.
They only wanted to talk flat-earth bullshit.
Well I smiled and went along so far
I needed the money and I’m practical enough
but you can only take so much crap
before you reverse their shrinking universe
berating them with expansion, the ever increasing
hungry and homelessness where chaos theory
is rampant and nowhere is everywhere.
Money and food are ceasing to exist and life
is unravelling into another dimension.
Shelter there is but it’s fading faster than twilight.
The utter pointlessness of their rules
when worlds are spinning apart and honesty
is what will get you kicked off the dole
so fast they’ll want you to return
the payments they have yet to send you.
 
And so I failed to acquire Job Seeker’s Allowance.
I who have sought further than most men
am cast adrift without funds, forced to live
by sucking my life inside out, selling all I am
a lifetime’s travels gone to auction, a loss
like a waterfall plummeting away from me
with barely enough left to pay a month's mooring.
I see the worthlessness of my wallet, credit cards
that are just so many washed out pin numbers.
I feel the shipwreck hunger gnawing at me.
None of this is new to me, soon you’ll know.
The joy of being completely alone doesn’t last.
 
You think it's plain sailing, future assured
horizon keenly acknowledged by Sat Nav?
That’s just when you’ll hear the water’s roar
as the boat tips over your world’s edge
and when you are floundering overboard
the welfare state won’t save you,
New Deal torpedoed that one.
When everyone is homeless, you just know
they’ll close the Job Centres. You poor sods,
you’ll be more lost at sea than ever I was.
Like Icarus, treading water, upside down,
flight wings pulling you under.
Even then you’ll find rock bottom
further down than you think!
 
 

 

 

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