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the luxury of work
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The Luxury of Work
          from Punch On Punch Off

Lots of shop girls work for small
family businesses
she told me
        with some of them you get paid
ten dollars an hour & asked to stay
on the dole
        while they drive flash cars
& their shop girls ride bikes

yeah     it’s hard being a shop girl

especially when you know they’re out
drinking their lattés
& slagging on so-called dole bludgers
        you’d have to wonder just what else
they might get away with

i mean it’s hard enough holding back
a pee for three or four hours . . .
let alone your tongue at times
        & i mean sometimes you just hope
one of your mates will turn up
to watch the shop while you do go
        it’s hard on your bladder

yeah     it’s hard being a shop girl
& when one of your mates does
turn up you can bet your sore feet
your boss will turn up too —
& spring you yacking to them
        as if you do it all day . . .
every day
        & yeah     you can tell by their
eyes & their thin mean lips
that they think you’re both bludgers

i’ve had to be sick in a plastic bag
behind the register a couple of times
because i’ve had no-one to cover for me
        & i’ve cried out the back some days
when i’ve been a day or two late
with my period
        & then i’ve had to go out & serve
someone
        & sometimes i’m sure my tears
have scared customers away
        & the boss sure as hell wouldn’t
want to know about that

yeah     it’s hard being a shop girl

& it’s hard getting a lunch break too
        in fact sometimes it’s hard even
getting some lunch
        unless you take it with you —
& most times you’re living so day-to-day
you have nothing to take to work
except yourself

it’s even harder those times when
the till doesn’t balance
        they make you put in
(as if you don’t anyway)
        & some days i’ve worked for half
my real rate because i didn’t check
the balance when i started

& yet they tell me i have the luxury
        of work.

 

 

Geoff Goodfellow wins ABC TV Poetry Competition. Read the full article.

Jane Sullivan's piece on me in the Age, Sat 30 October 2004

Mark Seymour Singing A Geoff Goodfellow song - Tobruk Pin

punch on punch off poster series

Check out Phil Doyle's discussion of my work in the September 2004 Workers Online

images from recent launches

 

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