In July 2020 the Covid 19 lockdown is winding out and people are returning to work places and routines. For many it's been a long time working in the spare room, on the dinning room table or on their lap. A range of activities have been missed, not least socialising at the end of the working day. 'Unlock' is a trilogy that marks the event.
'The Curtain's Up'
Fortuitous though it may be, the curtain’s been raised.
I am sitting in a pub, content, happy and slightly amazed.
There’s me, five staff and a bucket of sanitiser.
Like a diseased mad cow, I fear a taser.
I'm weighing up the pros and cons while wading into my third.
It’s gilt edged déjà vu, with a slight smell of turd.
The bar maid is thin haired with dodgy teeth.
A social veneer, wafer thin and nothing beneath.
I’m on my fifth and starting to worry about a name.
I saw it as a curtain raiser, but maybe it’s an end game.
I move to seven and things just will be.
It's not just a pubs name, it's curtains for me.
'The Three Kings'
And a dodgy outside light drew me in
Donkeys everywhere, as I begin.
And reverently, I approach the trough
Cause to saunter up really just ain’t enough
I’ve been in the dark, now vision is clearing
And the smell of stale piss is really quite endearing.
Mary is on her badge, she says what can I do
I say a pint please and where is the loo
Returning, it’s there gold, amber and more.
And Jo says do you want to sit by the door.
The cattle are lowing and a piss head awakes
And all I can hear is the screech of brakes
Three people tip out, all wearing mask things
And obviously I am sitting in The Three Kings.
'The Fire Station'
Dante has told me of the fires that burn
The enveloping flame, the truth I will learn
Circles of underworld , hotter each time
No means to quench, well there’s a pint in mine!
And outside table service and ash tray too
Now I’m thinking, that’s a strange thing to do
Maybe it’s ceremonial, if I spark up, do I get bells?
I wonder briefly did they get water from Artesian wells?
The bottles keep coming, I think that’s nine
And now we are back to Dante, but I’m feeling fine
So I’ve reached Lower Hell, through a virtual torrent
Socially distanced, cashless too, I’ll warrant
Before I leave, a must, to the bog, after the bender
Forget Artesian wells, I now know what fills the tender
More people are writing and thinking about work-based poetry. Does this poem make you think of anything? Send your thoughts to email@example.com.
Send a poem you've written or one you like and we'll share it with other WorkInWords readers.
If you would like to make another recording of this poem, click here to find out how.
Cover image credit: Open the door of wisdom by unlocking pessimism
Sumera Nadir, Pakistan
Image credit, Curtain Up: Drapery, Emily Halper, United States
Image credit, The Three Kings: Jazz Series: Three Kings, Brian M. Atyeo
Image credit The Fire Station: London Road Fire Station Artwork – Home of The Manchester Art Tribute. http://www.visionwithinart.com/project/london-road-fire-station/