Hardworking Families, by Dominic Berry

You’ll never clean toilets for cash.
You’re someone who’ll never need charity.
You’ll never get spots or a rash
for you’re in a hardworking family.
You’ll never get cramp or chlamydia.
You are an icon of normality.
Your child can’t have spina bifida
for you’re in a hardworking family.
You’ll never need badgers or foxes.
Your healthcare is just a formality.
You’ll never sleep in cardboard boxes
for you’re in a hardworking family.
A loved one cannot tell you lies.
Your Grandma will not lose her sanity
You’re safe while the sea levels rise
for you’re in a hardworking family.
The Tories will cleanse all the mess
when rioting leads to fatality.
You’ll never get mugged or depressed
for you’re in a hardworking family.
You won’t break an arm or a sweat
or face any kind of calamity.
You’ll feel no harm or regret,
for you’re in a hardworking family.

Definition of Success, by Dominic Berry

Not good enough to feel bad.
Not rich enough to earn poor health.
No privilege of being mad
with fortunes of good mental wealth.
Decided when each life’s begun;
Who’ll lose their minds, who’ll lose their homes,
Who’ll starve to death, who’ll die too young,
Who’s brains will break, who’ll die alone.
From palace grounds to terrace towns
whose life’s worth more? Whose life’s worth less
when judging life in pence and pounds?
A definition of success.

Three, by Dominic Berry

Beneath the blind, balanced in a window ledge, he has made three towers of twenty, fifty and ten pence pieces. Not great at counting. He can walk shop aisles for hours adding to what he thinks he can afford but always the check out girl must ask what he wants to leave behind.
Beneath his boxer shorts there are three shadowy bruises left by the mugger whose fingers slid inside these damp pants whilst pressing what might have been a knife to his naked neck. Nails. Lips. Fists. Blood. Not great at countering. Recounting this story to his doctor is not enough to earn him any therapy.
Beneath closed eyes, each night brings one of three recurring dreams. There’s the one where he falls silently into factory machinery, innards split by spiky cogs. There’s the one where he has earned his freedom from the old tower block, fingertips shine like bright silver coins, feet leave concrete and he can fly for hours. Great at flying. There’s the one where the knife goes in and out and in and out and always the check out girl must ask what he wants to leave behind.

Something to Do Whilst Washing, by Dominic Berry

Prepare a public talk about charity. The suffering of others has become as boring as sand. Don’t dive in naked. Those coarse grains niggling itches could remain clinging for days. People who claim to be pained should be approached fully covered. Imagine accidentally spilling a caring word on someone only slightly needy. If a noted humanitarian commits an act of kindness in the middle of a desert when there is nobody worth impressing present to witness said event, can an unwitnessed event even be counted as a true act of kindness? What is the point of wasting such a limited resource on a person who is probably too lazy to appreciated compassion? Optimise everything. Rehearse about brilliant speech about benevolence from the comfort of a deep, soapy bath.