Not selling out

They say there’s no
Dollar so low
Someone won’t stoop to pick ‘er up.
And that may well
Be true. But it sure as hell
Ain’t me.
I am not that man –
Never was
Or will be.

I’d rather keep hold
Of a single bright penny
Honestly earned
Than a hat-full of gold.
Better not have any
Than get greedy fingers burned.

Nothing wrong with money
But you can keep your funny
Business to yourself; I’m not your guy.
Got to put food on the table
But a man should still be able
To walk tall, look himself straight in the eye.

I’m going to show your little deals
A shiny pair of heels,
Take that straight and narrow road I’ve always trod.
Call me a fool: you may be right
But I will sleep sound tonight.
A few bucks down, but in the black with God.

 
 

As a freelancer, I’m sometimes forced to be less choosy than I’d like to be about the kinds of projects I take on. That doesn’t mean I’ll do anything, at any price. Sometimes, I’ve paid a high financial price for turning down work that didn’t sit right with my principles (which some would say are a luxury anyone in business, and especially freelancers, can’t afford these days). But at the risk of sounding sanctimonious, I’d rather be poor and clean than filthy rich. Luckily for me, my family feels the same way.

Time to go

Close of business

No wandering
For my mind today:
It’s been a strict
Eight-hour forced march
On hard roads
Of others’ choosing,
The telephone bawling orders
And the Inbox driving me
With frequent lashes
Of its electronic whip.
Now the rest of me
Weary with inaction
Rises up; a quiet insurrection
Fomented by the sun
Shining in my window
And the swifts
Like black new moons
Racing over heaven.
The world has made a market of my hours:
Those that remain
Till sleep claims me
Are not for sale.
For now
I am free.

Exposed on Bankside

Phoney

The woman
In a tight black dress and nipped-in jacket
Tailor-made
(But not for her)
Calls a contact overseas
So stridently she scarcely needs 
Her smartphone in its pink leather case;
A long-range artillery exchange
With names as targets,
Dates and times as ordnance.
She signs off, looks round
To make certain
She’s been overheard
Giving out her full plus-four-four dialling code.
Consults the papers
Tucked under one plump arm,
Makes firm, important pencillings,
Snaps the folder shut.
Another call:
Leaves a message for a minion,
Swirls her power and grip on things
Around her like a villain’s cape.
Consults her watch:
Calculates.
Flips the phone cover open
And gazes, rapt
Like a miser at his money-chest.
Then thumbs great secrets
Into the keypad:
Revealing more than she intends
In the moving of her lips.

It seems slightly unfair to single out this one person; you could fire a cannon down any street in London and be sure of hitting at least a dozen just like her.