Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Poverty Trap

He stares at the paint-peeling walls that surround him,
The settlement deeds that conspire to confound him,
And draws his deep-pocketed anorak ‘round him,
Lamenting his dire situation.

He checks down the back of the threadbare two-seater
To find a stray shilling to put in the meter
So he can hunch over his single bar heater
And try to restore circulation.

Life is cruel, life is crap
When your arse is ensnared in the poverty trap.

His chin is unshaven, his hair is dishevelled,
He wears the appearance of someone bedevilled
By gross accusations mischievously levelled
That basely conspire to haunt him.

He wishes his daughter would learn to write novels
And earn enough cash so he no longer grovels
In Drumcondra squatland in derelict hovels
Whose squalor now rises to taunt him.

Life is cruel, life is tough,
And I think that me belt has been tightened enough

His ribcage is prominent, his stomach is rumbling,
The sprout in the fridge is both shrivelled and humbling.
He dreams of the good times, distractedly mumbling
‘Bout trying to balance the budget.

He yearns for a burger on which he can pig out,
Of suits so much smarter than his current rig out.
If only he’d friends who would give him a dig out!
How could anybody begrudge it?

Life is cruel, and it hurts
When you can’t fly to Paris to pick up your shirts

How he longs for a fireside that crackles and blazes,
A plate of spaghetti with three bologneses,
And a big pint of Bass with a head – ah now, Jaysus! –
To wash down the plate of smoked salmon.

But now, though he plays to a national gallery,
He’s forced to conserve every grimly-won calorie.
Oh its hard to exist on a Minister’s salary –
And they say things were bad in the famine!

Life is cruel, life is gank
When you don’t have a cent to put into the bank

One day, he avows, when he heads up the nation,
He’ll make sure his colleagues don’t suffer starvation,
Constantly worried by gross deprivation
And fretting when poverty hits them.

No farting around in small step-by-step stages,
He’ll hike up their pensions and hoosh up their wages,
No matter how vocally everyone rages,
He’ll give them a wage that befits them.

Life is cruel, I can’t cope,
Doesn’t everyone see that I’m just a Joe Soap?

Life is cruel, life is crap,
When your arse is ensnared in the poverty trap.
I feel this one needs a word of explanation. I originally submitted this to the Strokestown Political Satire Competition 2008, without the italicised chorusy bits. To my surprise it was nominated and I realised I would have to recite it. As I have a stammer, I decide instead to sing it but realised it was a bit monotonous, so added the chorus bits.
At the Festival, I duly sang the original submission (as per the rules) and was totally gobsmacked when it won!

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