by | Aug 25, 2008 | Poetry | 0 comments

In-night! We just had an In-night. Block job: when?
The walls are to be scrubbed you say –
Ah, a pity about the emulsion.
The striplights have flies in them
And the windows have paint drips
Idling, scenically, on them.
The tile floors, in the toilet,
Have stains ingrained in them:
Perhaps the PSA lays them specially.
The paint is flaking from the doorways
And is scraped from the skirting boards.
Paint? Oh, you can’t have paint,
The painters will be in, in August.
Soldier! Clean them, scrub them.

In-Night! We just had an In-Night. Block job: when?
Tomorrow night. That is Saturday at eighteen.
Keep cleaning, re-arrange the cobwebs,
Move the dust piles from bed-space to bed-space,
Smear the windows with soft, white cream,
And move the odd, annoying fly
To some safer, cleaner, striplight cover.
The floors are all French polished, hall as well,
Even the white lockers and side tables
Are liberally laid with liquid polish.
The sidelights have dirty marks on them
And the wall junction plates as well.
“What are those white marks on the hall floor?”
Oh, he cleaned the floor with diesel gunk.
“Why is the floor so sticky?”
He laid French polish on top of it.
“Why is there no paint on the hall floor?”
It came off when he cleaned the floor.
…………………deep breath…………………..
…………………breathe out slowly.
A snort through the nose – such is life.
Soldier! Clean them, scrub them.

In-Night! We just had an In-Night. Block job: when?
Oh, by-the-way, there is a Block Inspection on Sunday.
Oh-nine-hundred-hours and Parade-by-your-boots-
With-your-beds-in-your-hands! Uniform? Of course!
The Squadron Leader will be round again,
But then, you all knew that didn’t you?
Soldier! Clean them, scrub them.

Inspection! Best boots and uniform.
“What is that? There. That?”
“A trunk for your gaiter?”
Box, Furrygator, packing, with spare crowsfoot.
“Get it out of here! Now!”
Obviously, doesn’t like pets.
“What is it, anyway? Though, I dread to think?”
One, sock-stuffed, furry alligator – ‘Oddsock!’
AB252s leer from clerical filing trays.
Corporals occupy the jail – standing room only.
“Failure? There is no failure.”
“I forgot.” “I wasn’t here.” “My wife…”
Excuses… “Excused?” “I excused YOU?”
Well, well, well.
Soldier! Clean them, scrub them.


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