Harry Reid

WFH (a rat bastard poem)

feeling like a ‘rat bastard’ versus 
actually being one. we hate rats but love a bastard
you can’t open your inbox and think ‘I’m a rat bastard’,
that’s not for you to say. we love a charming bastard
but hate a ratty one, I’m thinking more and more 
about the perfect way to spend an hour.
today I look at my phone and think ‘aha’, yesterday 
I looked and thought ‘that’s no good’. I am often 
at the precipice of offering help only to back down,
maybe this is where the poem lives. sometimes, a poem
is like a multivitamin
other times a poem is like a golf course, kicking sand
up all over the place. ‘eating a bloody Les Murray ham sandwich’
is the best line I’ve read in years, me? 
I’m eating a hearty lamb ragu with rigatoni, and thinking
where’s this pull to the self-referencing poem come from? 
feeling bastardly — is it possible in the morning? 
there's a few bastards who could tell me but they’re all, well,
sometimes you have to take the kid gloves off!! 
ok ok —
if the poem has a job it’s to find a way to write 
on the clock, ideally my job is in service to the poem
instead, it’s often in service to a bastard —
this is where the rat bastard poem comes in
starts thinking ‘there’s gotta be some way to get around 
this paywall’ — poem’s dilemma: who’s gonna pay me fifty bucks?
poem becomes a website, becomes a direct debit
in this way the poem pays for itself
then, alright — how to wrap up the bastardly poem;
a few kids gone bad, throwing eggs out of a beamer convertible 
a few kids getting into the bag, a few rats getting out,
staring down the work versus actually doing it, the rat bastard poem 
gnawing at the walls says who’d want a desk job anyway, 
but knows a poem unaware of a paycheck is no use at all

Harry Reid is a poet, and the author of the best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend (Puncher & Wattmann, 2020).
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