Editor Christopher Writes – #PoemADayForAYear: 09 & 10/07/15


So I may have jumped the gun a little bit the other day. I was perhaps a little egregious in stating that my studies are over and that I am done with the B.A. I am not. I got my final mark back yesterday and I failed the last assignment. Fell at the last hurdle. In fact, I didn’t fall. The hurdle grew legs and just as I was about to clear it, it kicked up and caught me square in the nadgers. I’m going to have a little drinky-poo in a minute but for now I only have two words to say about the whole thing:

Well, tits.

Here is a poem. The prompt is ‘like liquid’ from #FieryVerse.

My brain splashes the inside

of my skull, the concentration breaking

me as I try to hold in a hangover-fuelled,

plant-killing fart.


So some good news in the budget. There is going to be a National Living Wage of £9 per hour. For people like me, who work minimum wage jobs and are struggling to do things like pay off an overdraft, save for a house, save for a wedding, save for a rainy day, this seems really good. Finally, we won’t have to scrabble around trying to count pennies, hoping the magically transform themselves into the odd fiver.

However, there are a few things this does mean as well. At the moment, there is a Personal Allowance of £11k. No tax until you start earning over this amount. With £9 per hour, we are going to hit that threshold quicker and be subject to more tax, which may not balance out.

Also, a lot of the minimum wage jobs going at the moment are call centres or retail with sales targets. The nature of a lot of these places are quite fly-by-night, pop up and go with a very high turnover of staff. In fact, a few places do not make enough to cover the overheads which is why the ‘managers’ put so much pressure on those working under them to hit their targets or be shown the door.

I worked in one call centre where the wage was a certain amount and once you passed the three month probationary period and became a permanent member of staff, your wage increased. A very small percentage of people actually lasted three months before they were fired. Regardless of performance, places like that just cannot afford to pay the wages they wave around as an incentive to meeting targets.

I can only imagine that once the Living Wage kicks in, those working on the very bottom rung of the ladder – working shop-fronts or call centres – are going to be subject to a hell of a lot more pressure as employers like this struggle to pay the wages that the budget has promised.

I was subject to a hell of a lot of shouting and swearing at the call centre. I not thin-skinned but some of it was really overboard. Once we are all guaranteed at least £9 per hour, how bad will it get for those earning just that?

Here is a poem. The prompt is ‘not defeated’ from #WrittenRiver.

Lips stitched,

a dam built to stem

what is misunderstood

under a spotlight of hypocrisy.