Queueing at the broad front desk
of Welfare’s downtown office,
I brace myself for
the bureaucrats’ strip search.
I am unemployed – again !
These front desk people read my forms,
bring my name up on their screen.
They mutter “No no, this one will
have to go to the supervisor.
She’s been to us before.”
Social Welfare still speak sternly
over twenty years.
Their elderly code number follows me
to show a marked recidivist.
out of date
like mouldy cheese.
A disrespectable old age !
Jobs now vanish everywhere
as a widespread global surge
of ninepins spills out
on town and city streets.
This little academic city
was breeding a business heart
which now is breeding out its life,
its ninepins roll in the gutter.
No occupation takes beginners
except perhaps conglomerates
with their instant conveyered food
who take the low priced youth.
no longer knock doors.
Websites have no street addresses
no clearly numbered homes.
I fill in forms on the silver screen
have them printed and signed,
then ride them along that silver cable
seeking a new paid workplace.
Under a thundercloud sky portending
a drenching deluge I walked along
the rushing river skirting the town.
At the water’s edge marled grey rocks
mingled with pale ochre rocks all smoothed
by millennia of flowing waters.
Dark currents swirled in deep midstream
reflecting darker clouds.
I walked through ragged grass
along the water’s edge
careless of the nearing downpour.
Feeling caged in my house
I had to walk.
I had hoped to stay for life
in this country town but was cast aside
redundant, like so many others
in this rural county.
Job applications brought nothing.
Dread of the future, of packing up
and moving, finding a city home,
surged over me in waves
with grief for friends and workmates
and my little country home.
I would have to leave them all.
Fears of new employment,
of interviews and agencies
paralysed my thoughts.
How would I do it all ?
Some years later I passed through
that little town but could not
walk along that river.
When I looked at it
dread, grief fear welled up in me
as if it were only yesterday
that I walked along that river.
I turned and walked away.