Poem Hunter
The Conference Of The (Underemployed) Birds
(1969 - / Queensland / Australia)

The Conference Of The (Underemployed) Birds

"It shows the top half of the workforce enjoying permanent, well-paid, full-time jobs,

while the bottom half can find only casual, poorly-paid, part-time work which, as Labour

market economist Professor Sue Richardson warned this week, was creating a class of

"excluded and dangerous" men with incomes to low to support a family." - The Age, October 04, 2003.

"My discourse is sans words, sans tongue, sans sound: understand it then, sans mind, sans ear."

- Farid Ud-Din Attar, The Conference of the Birds


A Willy-Wagtails' call intercepts the morning. Birds were real once, like jobs.

The modem's dial-up scream is cut short; why is our technology suffering so?

Fake, Australian accents in the call centre aviary: Calcutta nest robbers gloat.

A taxidermy of outsourced work: ditto, we're all stuffed on the global floor.

Bottom of the bird market. This new flu's crashed like tech stocks, Acme trap

For the Roadrunner managerial class, the coyote - disenfranchised American?


Magpies don't attack in the open anymore, have you noticed: phenomena?

Phone tab's the way forward. Keep an eye on your receiver, not the skies.

There are new powers afoot for dealing with these full employment refos,

Our government issues wide-brimmed hats with strings of corks attached.

The contemporary job market has a thin eggshell; depleted proteins crack.

An excluded & dangerous class birthed? They backed job terrorism not us.


I saw a hoopoe once. Was it Jaipur? Its crown of truth strutted on the lawn,

Painted a post-colonial green. What good is spiritual knowledge without law?

You will play an integral role in this dynamic environment by fudging your

Work history for sure. Service orientate your brain - lively, world class, lame.

Dangerous as ideas? There's a metal storm inside your head. Try Sufism?

Was it John Lennon or Steve McQueen who went on about "ism ism ism? "


There are nightingales here reputedly. Wasn't it someone from myth who

Couldn't stand being unemployed anymore & turned themselves into one?

Hit an epic glass ceiling probably. Better to be amorous than under-employed?

There's no new twist in the figures though. The virtual exclusion of women

From net growth in full-time job mythology is eons old. Sumerians started it.

Gilgamesh's entrapment of Enkidu needed a woman's art: ‘Wanted Harlot.'


Australia has plenty of parrots, but cockatiels inhabit our universal currency

Of shame. See them locked up in Athens, Rome, Madrid, Delhi & Bangkok.

Feathered service economies, budgerigars tell beak fortunes in Iranian streets.

Collars of gold chained to human profit. Flocks flee drought & agricultural rut.

We even killed off one sub-species called ‘Paradise', cleared full-time underbrush.

& if they were flightless, then we paid out redundancies see: dodo, puffin & moa.

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