unsafe working conditions

is this really it?
you and me and my aunts and uncles and most kids I went to school with
we all bought tickets to THIS fucking ride?
the twists and turns it seems to offer are those it uses to squeeze your heart
warp your brain and bend your spine
at first it seems like rewards are abound
laughs and smiles and clapping hands
friends and money and liquored good fun
but you have to work and when you try to work they won’t let you
and you think, Hey buddy, if I could get away with not, I would,
I never wanted the job in the first place
but they told me I had to, so can I work please?
No way man, they say, You don’t have the papers, you need papers to work
so I get the papers and they say it’ll be a little while
and I ask how long, and they say be patient
I say I don’t care if it takes a year but they won’t let me work without
they ask, Why do you want to work so badly?
I say I don’t but they DO want me to work, very badly, they say I have to
they ask who “They” are and I realize I don’t know
who are they
maybe it’s just me and there is no they
but that isn’t true, because I can’t turn off my water
or lock myself out of my flat or cut off my lights
but they can
so who is running this show?
if life is some job you’re hired to do at birth
to whom do I go with my grievances?
it doesn’t seem worth it sometimes to toil
and soak my skin in oil and sweat
and drown my ears in the cackling of whores
with their taste-offending dates
to wear out good pairs of shoes on sticky floors
to catch buses home at 5:15 am
and breathe vomit stink through tired nostrils
just to earn enough to pay rent
so I can live comfortably and gather together
with other war torn rubes of the city in pubs
like the one at which I slave away
and bitch and whine over beer and wine
and drown our worries for the future

Published by bernardsbarnes

Writer. Artist. Performer. A little boy dreaming of the stars.

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