Posted in Antarctica


They prepared us well
the application package
and interview placing strong emphasis
on job volumes and variation
i.e. great and little
mundane work –  and lots of it.

At the beginning
janitorial staff thought kitchen workers
drew the short straw
so did we
until time colluded
passing quickly and collegially.

Most mess patrons were kind
and considerate(ish)
the gratitude of avoidance
this programme too large
for the kitchen rosters of small bases.
Nevertheless a significant minority were
“assholes.” Chapter 1 verse 1 Ray, Watch Captain.

Still, slaves can have fun at their masters expense
gratification filled by two mechanisms.
       1) Sighting an unpopular person and removing a popular item.
       2) Trapdoor humour.
Taking the piss
yanking their chains
spinning tall stories.

The first required sleight of hand
the second quicksilver of tongue.
Peter was clever, tail end of curve clever
and boyishly plausible
a middle-aged woman praised the water
how clear and clean it tasted.
“ We mix it up out the back
I’ll pass it on –  we’re always grateful for feedback, ”he replied earnestly.
“Please do it tastes really good.”

For the back story click Backstage



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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