October 2005 / Volume Six / Issue Five
Miles J. Bell
No choice

the leading hand just laid me off.
My phone rang on the factory floor.
"We're going to have to let you go,
the rule is no phones
on the factory floor
and you've left us with no choice."
I tried to tell him
the estate agents had a flat for me,
I had to take the call.
I wanted somewhere better, somewhere
quiet for the kid to grow up
without the joyriders
screaming up the street at
all hours and speeds;
glass on the pavement and
in the front yard.
I wanted to tell him
but I just shrugged
went to the canteen
put on my coat
and walked out of there.

It was dull work anyway -
you stuck a label on each bag
one hundred to a box
and forty boxes on a pallet.
But it was easy, and
I would have stuck it out.
I got the new place
and lost the ability to pay for it
all in five minutes.

I'll go back to the agency
get something else and hope
my face fits there.
Minimum wage,
and you have to do
the shit that no-one else wants to.
I remember once seeing
on a factory toilet wall
give us jobs, not work.
But I have no choice.