UpStart is a non-profit voluntary arts collective.

Published: 2338 days ago

Poem of the Day: Dylan Harris, armchair firefighting

For International Workers’ Day, a look at workplace frustration with Dylan Harris. Readers may also detect echoes of Our Current Economic Situation™

armchair firefighting
RIP Mr. Pitkin & Mr. Grimsdale

(i)

burning down

let’s meet to stop the burning down

the house the burning down
we made the burning down

let’s meet to stop the burning down

50 firefighters listen 3
discussing water pressure leaks

armchair firefighting

urgency

no time

meet

to spend time

to make time

to find time

urgency

no time

don’t keep the petrol by the boiler
i recall we said before

armchair firefighting

armchair firefighting

but i did not shoot the deputy

electro–straw is just the stuff
we need for sturdy walls
the brochure says it here

50 firefighters listen 3
discuss the art of flame

armchair firefighting

armchair firefighting

but i did not shoot the deputy

(either)

(ii)

hey look down
hundreds pointing up

there’s so much smoke
make it go away

Stop Gawping
We’ve Got To Start This Meeting
Think How To Fight The Fire

they’re a very funny bunch
all shirts & pointing up

hey rogers from the 7th
just fell past rather fast

Stop Gawping
We’ve Got To Start This Meeting
Think How To Fight The Fire

pretty red & blue flashing
eeek it’s the police

hey what’s that horrid noise
i can’t hear i just can’t hear

Stop Gawping
We’ve Got To Start This Meeting
Think How To Fight The Fire

i’m feeling heat I’ve got a bug
i’m going home to bed

i’m hearing cracks i’m hearing roars
i’m off to find a therapist

Stop Gawping
We’ve Got To Start This Meeting
Think How To Fight The Fire

(iii)

hey lads
this is what you do
we’ve thought it through
discussed for days

point water at the fire
throw a stick shout out fetch
water rushes over
fire runs away

look there’s the empire state
see that it’s ablaze
here’s a bowl there’s the sea
soon you’ll have it out

(iv)

no no no
don’t understand the problem
we need a solution
get it done

don’t waste time
trying to work out
a way it could work
just get it done

i never understood
why these guys
want to do the job
as well as they can do

we’ve always had to stop ’em
it’s not as if
we don’t have enough problems
as it is

(v)

hey
here’s a meeting must go instruct
contribution none got give none
hear a voice hear itself
hear a voice hear itself

the gain
more time used not get so far
buy mosquito spray
hiss in the armpits
rush down the doctor
more productive

all must to listen
individual conversation sequence
they don’t converse
they don’t take part
armchair firefighting

(vi)

all these meetings
bad results

we must have more
to work out how
to make the meetings
better

(vii)

zzzzzzzzzzzz
hrmph brrrggh
eh?
pork banquet?!
awk aaaiiiii gmpt
ssssssssssss

(viii)

the sixty metre
invisible
efficiency kangaroo
bounces to the burns
the builded burns

deep within the shadowed ruins
the black and burnt soot and ash
the char and black roasted meeters
the char and black roasted meeting room

he knew
to be more effective
‘put out a bigger
sixty metre
invisible
efficiency kangaroo
pocket snack

the sixty metre
invisible
efficiency kangaroo
pokes inside the broken walls
nibbles at the broken floor

on sixty metre
invisible
efficiency kangaroo
packet sacrifices

hops off
stops
and proudly sighs
“that was an efficient fire”

(ix)

i’m so important
i’ll have you meet
i’ll have you wait

so much pressure
i’m so important
you have to know
i’ve so much pressure

there’s so much late
i’m so important
you have to wait
you have to know

there’s so much pressure
we’re so late
you have to wait
to see
to know
i’m so important

so much pressure

(x)

hey
we need water to cure the fire
water in the hose

Only We Can Turn The Tap

ok then please turn the tap
then please turn the tap
please turn the tap

Why Haven’t You Put Out The Fire?
Only We Can Turn The Tap

turn the tap
the tap
tap

Why Haven’t You Put Out The Fire?
Only We Can Turn The Tap

burnt
burnt down
every burnt down
every burnt no water

Why Didn’t You Put Out The Fire?

hey
we needed water to cure the fire
water in the hose

Why Didn’t You Put Out The Fire?

you did not
turn the tap
the tap
the tap
turn the tap

why did you not
turn
turn
turn the
turn the tap

That Was Your Responsibility
We Made It Very Clear

Why Didn’t You Put Out The Fire?

(xi)

the make for me needs goo
you’re the boss
you have to get the goo in place
authority is yours

you ask me why the work is late
you’re the boss
the make for me needs goo
authority is yours

you ask me why the work is late
i’ve asked for goo
the make for me needs goo
you’re the why the work is late

you ask me why the work is late
i’ve asked for goo
you’ve not produced
you’re the why the work is late

you ask me why the work is late
i’ve asked for goo
the make for me needs goo
you’re the why the work is late

the make for me needs goo
you’re the boss
you have to get the goo in place
authority is yours

(xii)

You must stop being so
publically critical
of the company
that employees you.

Your job is not
to attempt
to lower morale
of staff.

We will to discuss
the ‘Colditz’ and
‘incarcerated’ comments
and similar comments
when you are back.

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