We are the hollow men/ We are the stuffed men /…. /Headpiece filled with straw.

Hahaha!   I know a happy man, who has compliance
set into his bones, conformance inked around his heart
and who might like to be adventurous but mostly doesn’t dare;
each morning before breakfast he sings the company song
and he uses company toothpaste after each day’s healthy lunch
so he can brighten people’s lives with an eager gleaming smile….

He’s a middling manager who’s high-minded in pursuit of his career
while in the shelter of his office he’s organised and mastered
by his lively strict PA; he can be an upright petty tyrant –
but one that’s impaled smugly on a plug of self regard
which keeps him carefully aligned and righteous in the limits
of correctness, whenever it is measured by HR….

But he disallows dissent from those who sound, well, ‘different
and ensures there’s consultation that may quietly be ignored
just as he filters information so reports are sanitised;
by a regulation clone abusing his position to replicate himself
and to cover up mistakes (disregarding his compassion)
to help him network his way through the corridors near power….

Before he works into the evening until he’s justified in leaving
to stand politely on the train and travel quickly, proudly home
(sometimes braving not to look at his BB) where he’ll tell
stories of his day and how he dealt with other people,
all told the way he would have liked things to have been;
then he’ll be kindly to his children, and perhaps a little cat.

This is the way the world ends / Not with a bang but a whimper.


Final Third

> Attack! Attack attack attack!!
< Out! Steady! Keep them out!!

> We spring in transition, driving forward
riding the surging sick adrenalin
staying calm and focused in the frenzy

< We defend, concentrating on position
fighting the curled knots of dread
thinking clearly under pressure

> Reaching for the heights of aspiration
we use vision speed and movement bending time
and stretching tired limbs to force mistakes

< We have anticipation timing interception
with cynics who’ll take one for the team
and make the hardened crunching tackles

> They may measure us by metrics
but we are only sated by a score
< We are completed by its absence:
a nothing makes us whole