Only 6 weeks of selling phone deals
To the harassed people of this city
And whatever self I had was losing
To my script. The clock hands slowed like suds
Around a blocked plughole; and when I spoke
It was through the tunnel of a stifled yawn.
To combat this, management introduced
A scheme, whereby, if you made a sale
You flounced to the front of the open-plan
And rang a bell, which summoned your applause.
We all developed our ways of coping.
Mine was to chat with certain customers
Minutes after the sale had fallen through.
Widows and widowers, jilted lovers,
Early evening drinkers, all had their stories:
I’d follow wherever they might lead me –
Mostly to the lives they once had, before
Whoever it was had left them behind,
Only cold-callers to look forward to
As light deserted their rooms at dusk.
From the pamphlet and CD Lost Between Stations (Longbarrow Press, 2011). This excerpt comprises the first two stanzas of the second poem; a short film of the full poem appears below. Read Matthew Clegg and Fay Musselwhite’s discussion of the work here. You can listen to Matthew Clegg reading the first poem in Lost Between Stations here. The pamphlet and CD can be securely ordered (via PayPal) here.