I would have advised him against the ghost grey suit.
Camouflaging yourself as a dead person is not the look.
A male job hunter must appear spry and spear-worthy.
The tie is a sword-penis, the briefcase a box of miracles.
But he’s lap-topped himself off for the day in a local café.
He’s even using their plug socket. This provides cake power.
Not real power. His charts will sink and flop like sponge.
His smile will decay. He will walk as a teaspoon among men.
Nobody writes a killer pitch on a Happy Baguette napkin.
Pretending to work only makes you good at pretending.
When the family find out, he will become a jellyfish to them.
The tearful eyes, that’s only for footballers when they win.
They are specialists in success and that makes crying OK.
He is a specialist in weakness and that smells like hot milk.
He no longer travels braced between bodies at rush hour.
Soon he will lose muscle tone, not to be trusted with the frail.
Pets will chew him like he was a toy man made of rubber
With a squeak and detachable parts that can choke a toddler.
He must return to work before his life loses interest in him.
He must visit a cashpoint to withdraw a sharp new £20 note.
He must kneel before it and kiss the profile of Adam Smith.
1723 – 1790. The division of labour in pin manufacturing
(and the great increase in the quantity of work that results)
He must do this every day until work is beautiful again.
Until his next job is a magic mountain with views to die for.
Runner-up in the 2015 Bridport Prize for Poetry.
Note. The title is taken from the Adam Smith quotation on the reverse of a Bank of England £20 note.