Posted in The Twelve Pack

Executive Decision

Shirley – tea Lady excelsis
In the age of re-branding,
rubbish collection as waste management
medicine as health care
food service as catering,
she called herself a key lady – endearingly and resolutely.
“I’ve been a tea lady 40 something years
still making tea,
blowed if I’m going to call myself anything else.”

Ours was her last staffroom –
had been there almost a decade.
“It’s a lovely place, but with the kids gone
and getting my pension … the hours ” –
9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
I’m tied up all day, for half a day’s pay,
but I don’t feel ready to retire, just yet
oh listen to me, I should be grateful.”

She must have listened to herself.
had a friend,
who wouldn’t mind part, part-time either.
They will job share – Two weeks on, two weeks off,
and be each others locum.
A good deal for both. Effective immediately.

They tell the director
he is incensed :
“I appoint staff around here, not the bloody tea lady.”





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.