The Time Office

In the dock a boat straddles, a big man wearing a too small suit;
my corduroy trousers, capillary tubes, run to Chelsea boots,
glowing with impossible dreams as the Tyne ruffles,
nudges nervously dock gates, a pulsing lung,
yet I can barely breathe with ignorance.

The Tank Cleaners’ cigarette smoke crawls from clawed fingers,
they throw cruel jokes, cigarette butts and disappear into toxic;
wrapped in oil, painting everything,
-it is all about money, the quicker they work,
the sooner they leave phlegm, rags and buckets of oil.
I calculate their wages, dry figures under an ochre light.

To continue reading this poem go to The Poets and select Tom Kelly.

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