Brexit, by Neil Fulwood

The guy behind the counter is loosing off smoke rings.
The vape shop is empty but for him
and those half dozen perfect, useless circles.
,,
On the street, the cold makes dragon’s breath
of my exhalations. Tomorrow’s ‘meaningful vote’
has been called off. I’ve pulled my neck into my collar,
..
found holes burying my hands in my pockets.
Five minutes’ walk to the pub and I’m wondering
if the mood will be muted or murderous
..
or if anyone still cares.

..

Neil Fulwood was born in Nottingham. His pamphlet ‘Numbers Stations’ is published by Black Light Engine Room Press, and his debut collection, ‘No Avoiding It’, by Shoestring Press.

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Infographic, by Neil Fulwood

The man from Corporate wears an expression
like a constipated bullfrog and announces
that he has an announcement. He requires
everybody’s attention. We lock our computers

and wait till the poor sod on the twelve-minute call
with a complainant gets through
with being verbally abused, after which
the phones are ignored and anyone knocking

on the door of our department is redirected
in the general direction of where the sun
never shines. He has our undivided attention
and he uses it to talk about infrastructure

and integration and the Corporate Operating System
whereby every site functions
on the same model and such factors
as geography, demographics and socio-economic

realities don’t figure since people half our age
on four times our salary who don’t remember
the Thatcher years are apparently
better qualified to know what’s best for us.

What’s best for us is set out in an infographic:
the top half is in three different colours
and interlinked by more crisscrossing lines
than a map of the London Undergound

impressionistically rendered by a caffeine fiend
with a sideline in self-electrocution. This half
sets out the corporate structure
in the new world order. The new world order

starts early next year. The bottom half
is all in grey and there aren’t many lines
because there doesn’t need to be many lines.
The bottom half sets out our jobs

and who we report into and how shit it’s going to be.
The bottom half is a small congregation
of boxes with job titles written in them.
There are fewer boxes than there are team members.

The Germans probably have a word for it:
that feeling
when you find out about your redundancy
via the absent box on an infographic.

,,

Neil Fulwood was born in Nottingham. His pamphlet ‘Numbers Stations’ is published by Black Light Engine Room Press; and his debut collection, ‘No Avoiding It’, by Shoestring Press.

Lottery, by Neil Fulwood

“… and for the lack of anything better to do, I went back to work.”  – James Crumley

And there is always one
in the office syndicate
who insists without irony
they’d still keep their job.

And I wonder what it is
about a life without meetings
that doesn’t appeal. What
peer reviews provide

that can’t be found
on the deck of an ocean liner.
For which the driver’s seat
of a Mercedes 560SL

is a poor substitute.
Why a private jet
and the mile high club
don’t buzz the mojo

like an hour on the phone
with an irate customer
or a reprimand from HR
on your permanent record.

Like the pay rise frozen
or the pension fund
transferred to a provider
you’ve never heard of.

What the Eye doesn’t See, the Heart doesn’t Grieve, by Neil Fulwood

Something glints in the shadows
and the eye looks away.

Breaking news on the bar-room TV
and the eye scurries
to the dartboard, the pool table.

A headline stark as a tombstone
and the eye looks for cracks
in paving stones or faces in clouds.

A placard, a sign, a banner,
several dozen gathered in protest
and the eye checks a smartphone app
for alternative routes, other things to do.

The eye distracts itself with clickbait.
The eye relaxes in the dark of the cinema.
The eye finds its forte binge-watching Netflix.
The eye and the brain want the heart untroubled.

..

Neil Fulwood was born in Nottingham. His pamphlet ‘Numbers Stations’ is published by Black Light Engine Room Press; and his debut collection, ‘No Avoiding It’, by Shoestring Press.

Estate by Neil Fulwood

This pushchair, lying on its side
in the empty 7am street, wheels
broken, fabric ripped, is not a symbol.

This TV aerial, detached from the chimney,
bracket eaten through by rust,
is not a symbol. It scrapes
against the roof tiles in the wind.

This car, SORNed for months,
one side panel a different colour,
is not a symbol. Nor is the one on blocks,
wheels gone and the windscreen shattered.

This ruined front yard is not a symbol.
This unpainted door is not a symbol.
This pile of mail is not a symbol.

It has rained incessantly, meaningfully,
for two nights. The estate is indifferent.

..

Neil Fulwood was born in Nottingham, where he still lives and works. His debut collection, ‘No Avoiding It’, is published by Shoestring Press.