Sunday, January 25, 2015

Month of Poetry #25: Penalty

Alright, this is a fairly polemical, political one. It may not stagger you to learn that I lean left politically; if you're a Tony Abbott fan or a big-business proponent, feel free to look away. Or not. It's a poem, so whatever.

Also, advance warning that tomorrow is Australia Day, which, traditionally, means angsty villanelle time. 2013's is here, 2014's is here. I am not feeling substantially cheerier about the state of the nation this year, so tomorrow's poem will be a bit rough on the sensibilities too.


So now listen -
If you're poor, it's because you're not trying hard enough.
That is what capitalism means, alright?

If you don't work and you're poor, what exactly do you expect?
Oh, you're sick, you say -
That's hardly my fault, is it?
There's no jobs, or none that will hire you because you're too young / unskilled / old / weird
or whatever?
Well, the state's not your nanny, I'm afraid
Reskill yourself! Access the Dignity of Work!
Move, or something.
It's not a problem I should have to solve for you.

Oh, you DO work. And you're still poor. But you get by, don't you?
On weekend rates - I see. I see.
That's hardly fair to business, though, is it?
How can their profits be maximised? What's their incentive to do business at all, if they can't -
Well, no, I wouldn't describe it as sweated labour, exactly.
I imagine you get ventilation, and tea breaks?
(Likely not the tea, though. There are limits!)

You can't afford things, you say. A very modest - extremely modest! - price signal at the doctor's
has you all aflame (or despairing).
It's the cost of a cup of coffee! Not even a fancy one
like a soy moccachino or anything bijoux from one of those little city cafs
but I digress. A plain cup of coffee!
I expect you can afford the things you really want, can't you?
Plenty of cash for bourbon and ciggies and -

I can't help it that life applies penalties to some of you
(Well, most of you. Those without capital behind them or on front of them).
I didn't load the dice - Not that the dice is loaded!
Anyone can get ahead, if they work hard enough!
We live in a meritocracy here!

If you don't want to work weekends, don't.
I can't understand why you don't understand this.
It's really simple. You can be whatever you want to be, and work to be.
This is an even playing field!
Go to university, get a degree, get a good job, why not?
I did it, why can't you?

Why can't you?

- Kathy, 25/1/15

1 comment:

  1. Yep, that's right - get a degree (with its $100,000 price tag) and rack up the interest & try to find that non-existent job as you pay it back. I'm with you Kathy - this government some got the Robin Hood idea backwards.