Posted in Truth

Deja Vu

Then, tertiary education was free
the government underwrote fees and paid allowances
the weekly payments not generous, but adequate
a supplement to expected summer savings.

Late 1970’s the economy slowing, but not yet stalled
restructuring and free market economics still to arrive.
Students needed for peak times in now extinct factories
processing the fibres and carcasses of the nation’s farms.

A friend finds me a job in a killing plant
lambs to the slaughter,
for British Christmas tables.
Abundant overtime, good pay,
the work not hard, but dirty – bloody.

Unblocking sludge pumps, crawling beneath machinery
constantly addressed as, “fucking students”
often with humour – sometimes spite
always dribbled, splashed and sprayed with viscera.

I shared transport and fuel costs – cheap,
but not quite door to door
a 10 minute walk through suburban streets
past houses …. with dogs
carnivores homing to my unintended scent
hopeful –
up to a dozen at once.

A decade later I work winter in Antarctica
women rare on the frozen continent then,
occasionally I would see a lone female
walking down a corridor
trailed by a line of eager men. I knew how she felt.



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.