Simon Robson – 4 poems 

4 MALE ROCK STARS AT THE POST OFFICE

 

1. IGGY POP AT THE POST OFFICE (GOING INSANE)

 

Iggy Pop at 

the Post Office – eating burnt cottage pie

and baked beans,

spurting mayonnaise and tomato sauce everywhere,

chips covered in grease,

eggs swimming all over the floor,

breast stroke, butterfly, crawl.

 

He’s finding it difficult to open the sachets 

provided – he’s talking to Bonita the canteen lady,

her hair braided with glass beads, tinkling,

how she took a day off because of her birthday,

mundane stuff, Gurkha kids beating up English kids

outside her house, racial riots –

not that he’s got much appetite or interest,

drowning in grease.

 

He knows the Post Office are proposing drastic changes –

intent on removing all flexed flights from

airports like Stansted, Gatwick and Heathrow,

thanks to the CWU union letter he received –

letter boxes are to be cleared no more than twice

a day, most of the driving duties changed,

the removal of night shifts, drivers to segregate

and tray meter, firm, company collections on the bay,

battling with the elements, wind, sleet and rain,

the removal of 2C to more efficient units,

those workers willing to sacrifice their weekends,

their families, kids and friends.

 

He feels saddened by events unfolding –

even though they’re beyond his control,

not as assured as he thought he was, an amoeba –

Iggy Pop at the Post Office,

his pension, lifestyle in jeopardy,

wishing he’d got out quick instead of staying,

running around in circles, endless circles,

driving himself insane.

 


🍃

2. LOU REED AT THE POST OFFICE (DOING HIS BEST)

 

Lou Reed at 

the Post Office, an irascible character, arguing with everyone,

the union rep, a management stooge, he says.

 

Lou Reed at

the Post Office, scratching his Roman,

aquiline nose, he wishes, being Jewish –

better than the lead singer of the Ramones.

 

He knows the management are intent on cutbacks,

a whole shopping list of savings –

processing 1C only on Sundays,

limiting local feeder services, SA’s and overtime,

letting TNT take over, hapless fools –

eliminating crash sorting,

closing inward operations and moving them to Monday,

monthly pay instead of weekly.

 

He’s doing his best, almost humble,

gladdened by his success rate, limited failures,

ex-wife, mortgage and grandchildren,

all that he’s achieved out of his paltry existence, meagre –

better than Little Richard.

 

He’s reached his full potential, stamping packets,

his purpose here on the planet,

embracing sunshine, heavenly sunshine,

Californian, Holiday Inn sunshine,

the snow peaked summit of his rich, half-starved existence,

ribs sticking out in all directions –

like he’s in Japan, sitting on top of

Mount Fuji, a Buddhist monk, reading Yukio Mishima,

Spring Snow, Runaway Horses –

instead he’s missing his ex-wife, Lisa, he says,

now that she’s gone –

he’s stalled at the traffic lights on the

Farnborough Road,

police cars with cameras waiting, speed cameras –

exasperated by the delay, he’s facing the new BMW

showrooms in his Ford Cortina, a rust bucket, 70’s motor,

which he bought second-hand

by accident, all of the back seats collapsed,

stolen or missing,

peanuts, Digestive biscuit crumbs –

Lou Reed at the Post Office.

 


🍃

 

3. DAVID BOWIE AT THE POST (FEELING ALRIGHT)

 

Even though he knows the Post Office are determined

to obstruct any strike action with propaganda,

cheap videos of Allan Leighton shot by his teenage daughter,

her Arts and Media GCSE –

regarding the wholesale elimination of overtime and SA’s

on all indoor night workers like him,

not that he does much overtime anyway,

happy with his basic wage, meagre as it is –

he knows the plans are to amalgamate

the 1C and 2C despatch together, saving time

 

 

but he still plans strike action,

marking his X in the relevant box,

‘Yes’ or ‘No’ –

maybe going down the snooker hall,

pub or betting shop –

the introduction of driver assists, contractor workers from Manpower,

agency workers, and arrival flexibility,

none of the lorries turning up on time.

 

He’s feeling alright, good inside –

he’s unashamed about his existence here on the planet,

knowing where he’s meant to be, throwing GU packets,

thanking his dear mum for his etiquette and manners,

working here at the Post Office, a manual letter sorter,

GU 11-17, Aldershot, Fleet, Camberley, Sandhurst and Yateley,

home of the secretarial school where his wife went to –

David Bowie, one of his eyes a different colour, altered.

 

He’s an indoor all night worker,

bleaching his hair on occasion,

his car with red go-faster stripes down the sides,

laughing at the police with their speed cameras,

sweating, toiling hard sometimes,

grateful for his pension and health insurance, no ulcers –

the last horse he backed

was called Nil Desperandum at Aintree,

which was about right, losing.

 

An individual, secure of his sexuality –

he’s happy sorting letters and flats,

multi-tasking, an octopus, his tentacles everywhere,

doing what’s required of him with the least amount of fuss,

uncomplaining.

 

He demands complete respect from his managers

and fellow indoor all night workers,

winning awards and medals for his efforts,

the best in the South Central Area – David Bowie.

 

‘Louie, Louie, oh baby…’

 

Reverence.

 


🍃

 

4. MICK JAGGER AT THE POST OFFICE 

(SOMEWHAT ASHAMED)

 

Even though the Post Office are millions in profit,

delivering a 100% service to all its customers, the general public,

whether they’re holidaying in Weymouth or Bournemouth,

ice creams, donkeys,

or stuck on the Isle of Bute, somewhere off the Outer Hebrides,

self-reliant, scratching a living, crofting.

 

He’s got loud guitars, wah-wah pedals,

waves of fuzz, green, purple fuzz,

rusty saxophones and drums banging in his ears, ceaseless –

he’s got a wife who he’s been married to for forty years,

never transgressing, his sexual conduct –

he’s a first aider, an ex-army medic,

bandaging split fingers, headaches, cuts and abrasions –

all his grandchildren are proud of him,

the great heights he’s aspired to, Japan, Mount Fuji,

reading Yukio Mishima.

 

I think he’s brilliant…

 

He knows the Post Office are straight out of Dickens, strictly English,

somewhere rooted in the nineteenth century, their methods,

working practices, nondescript, opportunist,

boarding school managers, grey, boring,

redundant working practices, employment conditions,

appealing to bullies, liars and cheats –

he knows he’s being offered a full and final pay rise

of 2.5%,

well below the Gordon Brown inflation threshold,

a whole catalogue of disasters about to be inflicted,

changes to the business, supposed flexibility –
all he wants is an increase in proper pay, no lump sums –

Mick Jagger at the Post Office, rubber lips.

 

He’s over fifty-five, undeclaring of his real age –

he’s taking quick drags on his fag in the bus shelter outside,

his trousers turned up to his knees, very trendy,

blue bib and braces, steel toe-caps,

smelling of cheap wine, vinegar and nicotine,

one of his pockets torn, needing stitching,

fading tattoos on his arms, inky blurs,

grabbing his trusty scissors before they hit the floor.

 

He’s got a disintegrating liver which hurts,

his skin tone ugly, sanguine and grey –

he’s religious, doing the Irish Lottery every Saturday,

down at Ladbrokes, ticking the numbers in the relevant boxes,

counting down the days to his eventual retirement,

the prize winning cabbages flourishing on his allotment –

his wife for forty years, Sheila Hancock, a ham actress,

knowing all about the human, slum condition,

having read

Samuel Becket, Waiting For Godot.

 

Plus –

he’s been reading Gogol during his meal reliefs,

munching on cheese and cucumber sandwiches, Hula Hoops,

Dostoyevsky, and other Russian literary greats

 

he’s paying his Income Tax, National Insurance,

Pension Plan C Standard,

paying for his laptop,

his Basic/Gross Pay reduced by £9.14,

not that he knows how to use it –

Mick Jagger at the Post Office, rubber lips.

 

Rockers, mods…

 

His idea of fun is killing everyone –

he’s parking too far away to walk to his car,

all the other drivers, his fellow indoor night workers,

pouring hate, scorn on him –

Bonita, the canteen lady, her son beaten up by Gurkhas.

 


🍃

Simon Robson

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