mobile manager


mobile manager



busy signal     strap-hanging on the 8.59 to somewhere

important     clients assume the background is productive

but few of his calls last longer than a whistle stop

muscular veins on his programmed left hand     boldly

pump and press his contacts       he’s a cold call centre

ignored     reprimanded     abused     for nothing more

than a formal ‘Hello, Robert speaking’     or a warm

‘Hi, it’s Steve here’   or a Hi, it’s Di returning your call


imagine the hours practicing     at this level of subterfuge

I’m confusing wheels with deals     pitch with sociability

I’m an all-stations voyage voyeur     first day in training

sitting in his office     focussed on nothing more sensual

than which side of his brain woke up first     orchestrating

the patterned tie as vocal number to lift the instrumental

chambray     that ubiquitous fabric for managers who care

about their cottons     what a global viewpoint on dressing


an office in a train would suggest downsizing

but there are compensations     well-depreciated shoes

hair heading for tax-haven grey     inhibitions a write-off

behind bifocals     his eyes close like antique shutters

to an ill-timed migraine     a feature not welcome

in the open-face office     this carriage is his castle

contact book an apocrypha     but why am I counting

loose threads on a saint who moved aside for a lady


he’s wearing what so many of us travel to find

some sort of day     some dream of a job

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