Morning Star: Jobcentre

17 Apr

As seen in the Morning Star newspaper, 4th May 2016, in Well Versed, edited by Jody Porter

jobcentre_1Surviving the job centre
With your ego intact
Is a masterclass in
Unsolidarity.

Wear the office clothes
You no longer have to.
Wear the smile of someone
Momentarily inconvenienced.
Like your career got a flat tire
And this is the garage.

When the security guard escorts you
From desk to desk
(Same as everyone)
Treat them like a valet service:
Thank them with an indulgent smile.

Have a book with you
A large one
With a sombre cover.
Carry a nice pen in your pocket.
Sail through the patronising print-out forms
With the air of a business-class traveller
Checking in.

Do not turn your head to the screams
Of the children in prams
Do not look worried when
There is slurring and shouting
Two seats away
Act as if everyone else is behind glass
Pretend you are not permeable
To them.

Do not let it flicker across your face
That rent is looming
That you are too bored to be well
And too broke to go out
That this is the first time you have worn shoes
In three days
That your days consist of forgetting meals
And remembering biscuits
While the mess stacks around you.

You are wearing nice shoes now.
The ones you bought
Before redundancies were announced.

Delicately correct typos and grammar
In the photocopied forms
Like a supervisor.
Like their supervisor.

Under ugly ceilings
The fluorescent strip-lights

Glint off your armour
Of accent, degree, CV

You are not one of them
Honestly
You are just visiting.

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One Response to “Morning Star: Jobcentre”

  1. Eli April 20, 2016 at 7:52 am #

    Uh, I really like it. It’s on point and very sharp. Makes me remember the time, makes me angry.. Thank you.
    (The three-line-paragraph from “You are wearing nice shoes now (…)” is not necessary in my view, since it’s a repetition but that’s a matter of taste ;))

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