Posted in Lies


The brochures showed scrubbed shining pupils
sharply attentive to a smiling instructor
sunlight floods into well funded laboratories
flames bubble obedient beakers.

At the career day staff
smooth through persuasive presentations
sedating apprehension
joshing uncertainty
challenging vacillation
doubt equals self awareness, age experience – “job or vocation?”
Sign here.

A bleak morning
by the calendar it is spring
by temperature and colour, winter.
Three days of observation from hardscrabble stalls
time now to be ringmaster
seen it all before eyes stalk from graffitied desks.

Guerilla warfare – non violent but lethal
a new boss whose workers are conspiring with defeat and derision.
At the end of the first week
honesty wonders if a single fact has been learned.
The tutor’s brow wrinkles. She is sure I am mistaken.

The periodic table is explained
and chemical symbols introduced.
A quiz at the end of the second week reveals
periodicity is about menstruation
chemical shorthand abbreviation for teenage cult figures.

I confess to the tutor
she looks around for vacant ears then sighs.
Apparently this is not a good school
most here do not maintain professional development
my technique is sound but alien to the unenlightened.
Truth settles for appeasement.



Most of my life has been spent on the bench, occasionally called into the game by extravagance or attenuation. Waiting has turned a loner into a recorder - nondescript and inconsequential, more not noticed than overlooked - the non-vantage point of children not yet considered old enough to understand. Orphaned Islands (Un)poetry is a lifetime of picking anecdotes up and not throwing them away. Stories collected like odds and ends placed in a box in the basement, the garage, the garden shed - uncertain as to what their use might be but knowing that one day there might be one.

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