Sholto Buck’s Very Useful Labours

By | 1 August 2021

It’s a warm morning
at the beginning
of the most recent
Financial year

I write and write
like it’s my job

I’ll never be this happy

I suppose
it’s bad
research to admit
I started a PhD to get out of retail

It’s funny
how the sense of what’s bearable
adjusts itself

Every year aspiration reverses
dreams become… burdensome

At what point
did I pass the point
it was possible to become:
an engineer / sniper / tennis coach /
my choices:
checkmarked / fated / I’m here

because of course the university
is at this exact moment burning
this is but a reprieve
and after four years
I will hold the record
for the world’s most unpaid lunch

I’m not good for retail because
I’m broadly disinclined:
to speak / steam fabric / ask rhetorical questions of the wealthy

But I fooled them by being gay
the sensibility suited to service
and raised aesthetic wisdom

We reside
in lilac plastics / stasis / decorative stars

One thing for which I am grateful
to this career
is all the friends and managers I’ve met

Rhys, who rubbed my neck
and called me every night
after work

Ben, with whom I bonded
for sharing that privilege

Jordan, who worked for decades
on the same floor until
he turned into a shark

Max, my favourite
the fashion designer
whose shopping addiction kept him
though always on the edge
of leaving

And there was me,
Sholto, who left proudly
adorned with artistic talent
straight past the security alarm
not caring to say
what time he would be back

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