Do you remember?

Do you remember when you were young:
When they sold us a future in which everyone
Would have more time for leisure and
Life’s simple pleasures?

I do.

I remember how ‘progress’ was sold as the shift
Toward treasured Modernity’s time-saving gifts.
I remember when ‘free time’ were not dirty words,
But the envy of those who knew it was absurd
To work hard for The Man, at the cost of your Soul;
To neglect your own senses to fit in a mould;
To conform to consensus and stick to the path
Laid out in perpetuity – however daft…

And yet,

Where does the time go and how is it spent,
But by serving The Man just to pay him more rent?
And while faster goes quicker and more becomes less
Of a joy than a measure of burden and stress,
We regress to Draconia’s cold, hostile age
As a new class of servants with masters who wage
On us their aspirations for their perfect nation.

Obnoxious concoctions and new imitations
Of outdated thinking, consigned long ago
To the scrapyard of ignorant, privileged foes.
Resurrected prescribers and makers of woe
Who would keep us distracted and chained by the nose
To a grindstone which cripples and overly loads
On our bodies and minds and the whole of our time
Is spent rushing and pushing and fleeing and fighting
To be the first one to the end of the line.

 

[First posted: March 2013]

Have You Drawn Your Curtains, Dearie?

And what time did you get up?
Or are you still in bed?
Quick! You have to raise your blinds –
The Government said.
Apparently you’re lazy
If your curtains remain closed
(Even though it keeps the heat in
And the frostbite from your toes).

You haven’t booked some time off
And you can’t have just forgotten
And you certainly are not ill in bed
And feeling really rotten.
No p.m. naps for pregnant mothers,
‘Itches’ scratched in daylight hours –
Sod spontaneous, ardent lovers!

No more privacy from others
Peeping through your windowpane:
Hey Striver! Are you On the Game?
Hey Skiver! Are you on the take?
What do you mean, your carer’s late?
Don’t start that ‘bedroom tax’ complaint!
Disabled people: show restraint!
Stop whining about challenges
When everyone else manages.

Night-shift/shift-workers, why despair –
The Government don’t know you’re there –
‘Coz only daytime work is counted:
Idlers sleep once Sun has mounted.
Night-owls? Oh, they’re just Life’s scroungers,
Welfare cheats and baked-spud loungers.
Diktats raining from on high,
Rein and reigning by and by…

Designers from that Ivory Tower
Seek to make you bend and cower.
If you can’t prove that you are up
You’re just not striving hard enough.
If you conform to homily
You’re one hard working family!