Half a Dozen Corners Make a Room

I brought you here to
Admire the still-life: cup, ashtray, crumpled plastic film
The hinge designed to make the door swing shut.
I don’t believe in anything; that’s what makes me good
And on the phone I hear them moan about
An unfair world that wicked rulers hold
So today, a girl complained
That she was on the books of an agency
They didn’t give her any work; does that mean
That she is an employee or not? I am reminded of
A world where half a dozen senior designers
And marketing consultants
Assemble round an expensive table and spend
Two hours discussing the exact shade of plastic gold
That should be used for the tear-off band
On cellophane wrappers from Bolton to Colchester.

Several shades were offered for review, including
A bold bright blue. The chairman said
Our clients don’t want nothing new
They’ve grown accustomed to the gold
And don’t like being told what to do. Next

On the agenda, the width of the plastic strip; the
Two choices each received an equal vote, so
In a fine display of leadership the chairman
Came down on the side of the wider band. The difference
Was minute, but the arguments were long and fierce
About the impact of such a change
On sales of cigarettes and sweets and things
That people tear the perfect packet open for themselves.

Meanwhile, hardened missiles make their way to Syria,
Destroying schools and shops and peoples’ lives; and
Children trapped in burning high-rise blocks
Scream for help to a watching TV crew. A man
Is shot. Is this the world we dreamed of? I don’t know.





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