Caught myself thinking I'd been 'hard done by', today…
by Tony Jolley
And, in a fiscal, Einsteinian, Relativistic sort of way
I guess I had been, I could well say:
More 'F=TJ shafted' than E=MC squared,
As one client had 'forgotten' to pay me for months,
And two others had lopped 20% off my gross
For Social Security, Retirement and National Insurance
When, as a sole-trader, I've already paid these in advance!
Short on the mortgage, it's a fairly big deal –
The idea of 'disposable income' now completely unreal.
Then I read it:
An article about a present-day Chinese village
In the backwoods beyond the back-of-beyond,
The destitute community
Owns but a single pair of town-going trousers,
Timeshared, in turn,
By whoever the Elders mandate to visit:
The best man for the job
[provided the pants fit].
Puts it into perspective, doesn't it?
Looking up the 'food chain' from me,
I can see the 'Corporate Carnivores',
The Killer Whales and the Crocodiles
Decimating their workforces in precarious times
To massage the proverbial, all-important 'bottom lines'
Screwing untold billions in subsidies from state silos
Which the small-fry fill
And these Great Whites filch
So they can drive away into the wide blue yonder
With obscene stock option milch.
Gold Bullion Handshakes
Going grasping hand-in-hand
With Silk and Silver parachutes
Straight into the next Non-Executive Director seat:
Half a day a month, if available,
For half a million passed under the table.
From down below the bread-and-waterline, I guess,
I must look not unlike this:
A Pike in a pond
Resting and basking
Until the need to feed
Forces a frenzy of activity:
A blitzkrieg war,
A snap of jaws.
Prey paid a pittance
That keeps them in the penury
To which they have had no choice but to become accustomed.
Tressells' Ragged Trousered Philanthropists,
So it would seem,
Are with us still - alive and (not so) well
Out of sight if not of mind
At the sharp end of the capitalist production line,
Ground down daily like the grain they grind,
Donkeys, born nose to the grindstone,
Condemned all their days
To the millstone's tune,
Fed on fallen husks, but never the bread,
While my mid-chain miller counts his profit instead.
This current Crisis teaches the cruel, but obvious, reality
That we rich are rich but not without impugnity.
We can't call upon the Third World to 'bootstrap' itself
Without shouldering some responsibility ourselves
And changing a system in which the deck is 'stacked'
In favour of one player whilst the others get wracked.