The Bradford Factor by Pauline Sewards

 We were next to the flyover and they threw everything at us
we had long arms, broad shoulders and hearts that skipped a beat

 Saul said he got up every morning just to make a difference
(he was the alchemist of change, we all were),
although often it was Groundhog Day, and things stayed just the same.

We were watched from a great height and from within our lap tops,
our banter was a one skin roll-up.

We often cried but not always in private or in the toilets.
We were creative and resilient (in our cvs) but our bones ached with the weight of data
our eyes were screen-dumps, filled with rows of asterixes and ampersands

We were always hungry and survived on cash-and-carry coffee,
airport gifts and cut price leaving do cake from the corner shop

We were troubled by a colleague, who couldn’t take it anymore, and hung
like a reproachful question mark from the rafters of the open plan office

We were our own worst task-masters, our lips were dry and our desk-tops pig-styed
bring me love, bring me Pabrinex, we joked, while stealing stationary and condoms.

We were covering our asses with neutron-bomb-proof rhinoceros hide
we were dreading that phone call, that call into a side room, into a Coroner’s Court
Our hearts became calcified, our lips formed the empty circle of a default no.

We spent all day condensing stories into a portable format
we were operating at the level of fictional nonsense.

We did everything for love but the stories rushed by too fast
with the hell-bent disaster-mongering of a de-coupled train.

We were once passionate, but that could not be reflected in the data
Stuff that happened did not happen because it was not reflected in the data
or was recorded in an untimely fashion.

We redrew our boundaries each night with Lip Finity and quick-dry top-coat.
It was payment by numbers and we knew our days were numbered.

We were next to the flyover when we went under
we had thin skins, fragile hearts and the strength to walk away.

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