Wednesday, 01 May 2019 14:07

Mayday poem: hearts bigger than the sun

Written by
in Poetry
Mayday poem: hearts bigger than the sun
by David Shrigley

hearts bigger than the sun

by Martin Hayes

Chaplin had it
Keaton had it
and Laurel and Hardy had it

Lucas has it
as he walks in early for work
with a flask and Tupperware box full of sandwiches under his arm
with ‘mornings’ and ‘alright mates’
spilling out of him like birdsong
before he sits down at his workstation
spreading it out across the whole room

Rajesh has it
as he dances across the control room floor
turning and spinning like he’s in his favourite Bollywood movie
tapping colleagues on the shoulder
before leaning down next to them
and peering at them with bulging eyes
doing that thing with his head
from side to side
while wagging fingers at them
before spinning off again
and making himself a cup of tea

Ashley has it
as she sits at her phone station
every now and then letting that laugh of hers out into the air
dirty and gravelly as a docker’s
that burrows in through our ears
so that it swims in and around our muscles and our veins and our stomachs
warming up our entire systems

Antoine has it
as he sits at his desk
carrying on imaginary conversations with the controllers
while it’s roaring busy and the phones constantly ringing
about how he thinks those controllers
haven’t had sex in months
or proper kissed a girl since they were teenagers
things totally unrelated to work
that dissipates all of the pressure
and can make you feel
like you’re in a school playground once again
rather than in a control room
trying to protect your job

they are the only things they’ve got left
that haven’t been taken away from them yet
that despite the snide comments and threats
the traps they set
for them to fall over
in the third year of a pay freeze
with the purchase of the CEO’s shiny new Bentley
sitting outside in the yard
hasn’t broken them yet

these hearts of theirs
bigger than the sun
spreading their heat and light out
pulling everyone up
by the scruffs of their necks
this magical spirit of theirs
that keeps on pumping keeps on
laughing its magic
even when everything else around us seems to be falling apart
and designed
to make us give up

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Martin Hayes

Martin Hayes has worked in the courier industry for 30 years. His latest collection is The Things Our Hands Once Stood For, published by Culture Matters.