He was a well-known consumer advocate
renowned for his integrity, principles
and lack of legalese –
able to give an un-practised, unequivocal answer
to even the most contentious of issues
was a regular on TV, radio and in print.
On his last day he was interviewed, for the last time
reflected on a quarter century of being the watchdog
frequently the guard dog.
there were so many.
but he thought the best.
The best example of the power of the consumer –
to fight back, to change the unchangeable.
It was reserved parking – monitored –
stern signs warned of stern consequences.
The tow truck driver was impervious to her pleas,
of heat, of urgency, of lack of alternative –
“ sorry lady” – them is the rules.
Right, you can pick it up from the yard at ….”
Quick as a snake striking
she opened the car door and shoved three children in
the tow truck drove off
the kids wailed and cried, banging on the windows
screaming to be released, and for their mother –
the world watching –
after about 500 m, the tow driver stopped,
lowered the car to the ground
“ lady take your car and just go.”
Staff meals :
restaurant quality, low prices
gratitude would have been expected,
always not first choice
well, the patients have priority – screw them.
Payment supposed to,
but difficult to extract.
Dodges, there were so many
the honesty box that wasn’t –
wallets left at home
shortage of funds.
It got to the point pique became irrelevant
like a radio not properly tuned, for so long
crackle is no longer heard.
Still, I listened for anything original, never expecting to
until a large man running to fat
came in one day and said he must owe quite a bit for meals
would I take a cheque.
Surprise was surprised
and turned to banter which asked if he had any ID
“ I’ve got a tattoo …I’ll show you later.”
She met him after the war,
the war to end all wars the leaders and Generals said.
Vietnam, Afghanistan –
they lived them all,
I wonder if they lived the irony as well.
I didn’t know, they never mentioned it.
It was a dance to celebrate,
and thank the soldiers returning from the war to end all wars.
He knew where she lived –
probably he asked, possibly she told.
Her mother saw him off
But reckoned without her daughter,
a daughter not quite exited from her teens.
On authority of will,
body followed heart, with him, by boat and train
to the far end of the country –
finding a sympathetic priest and marrying en route.
In the new lands they became farm labourers
four children and greater than six decades of marriage.
Elope – run away – scarper – flipping the bird
no money, no jobs, no security –
a big call. A good call. The right call.