Tough Guy
By Ivor Griffiths
Tough Guy

down at the dole, behind a plastic desk
he grunts, scratches and wipes, the bureaucrat.
He drops his pen, pinches sagging chins
stuck on a face round as a plate
hirsute bespectacled and sweating
a belt buckle joining piano wire

cutting though off-white dough
tie sticks out and curling, at 45 degrees.
A flat expressionless stare, slight frown
bored, uncaring, detached covered in glass and hair.

The anxious anorexic fidgets before him
twirling a filter tip unlit,
itching to leave, aching to ignore

the flannel grey suit, tufted and smelly,
is slouching in his chair, squinting at a form

Last job you had was in 1964

leaning forward, delicately thin, crimson finger nails steeple
she smiles, deep, into pencil point eyes.

Tough Shit, Im leaving
she says, and rising, flicks ash onto his hair. Ivor Griffiths 2006
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