So I spent a day and a night without electricity. There are no faults in my flat, it is simply that the meter ran out. I don;t know how it does but it seems to lie. This is something that has happened to me periodically over the time I have lived here. Labour recently have been running a ”are you better off” poll to counteract what Cameron’s been saying http://action.labour.org.uk/page/s/cameron-says-youre-better-off?source=14_01_24_DCBetterOff_SIGNON&subsource=labour_facebook&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=labourUK&utm_campaign=14_01_24_DCBetterOff_SIGNON . I won’t go into my personal circumstances or finances but no they aren’t great and yes my friends and family lend me money, feed me shelter and most of all do with kindness and without making me feel like the feckless mess I am. I am lucky I have support and I ask for it less than I need it because like everyone I crave independence. The below piece is simply inconvenient things that have happened to me due to being skint. Comments advice and suggestion on the poem rather than my life are welcomed.
We are not all in this together, I am not better off and other lies
(a list of things IDS, Cameron and all the other liars have never had to do, a list of inconveniences)
Kept a large bag of tea lights in the house for when the meter lies which it does whenever you dribble in your last pound coins, the number remaining stubbornly low.
Known it’s going to cut out because you’ve used the emergency. Left a lipstick bowl yawning with them teeth like and a lighter you hope has enough gas when you come home in the dark.
Cleared the hall way so you can clatter down it, hold the wall to the bathroom without flicking any switches.
Eaten leftover pasta and chickpeas cold for days because you can’t afford the electric and prefer to have light. Bought white bread even though you prefer brown because it’s more often discounted.
Gone mostly vegetarian because you can’t really afford meat. Failed to eat your five a day. Regularly.
Told yourself you should be eating less reading more and walking more anyway.
Gone out because poetry events are usually free, the pub will be warm and someone you know will likely buy you a drink.
Somehow managed to get incredibly drunk more often than should be possible for someone with pennies in their unopened purse, skinned your knee more often than is dignified.
Dressed in the clothes your mother wore to lecture in when you were a child because they are more professional looking than anything you can afford.
Wrangled your hair into pigtails even though you are closer to thirty than twenty because it hides the dirt and the fact you can’t remember when it was cut.
Stripwashed in the dimness goosepimpled because no electric means no heat means no light means no hot water and your bathroom cell like has no windows
Gone weeks without hot water because you have a kettle and can afford to fill the bath a few inches deep to splash a sense of cleanliness.
Watered down handwash, shower gel, shampoo, washing up liquid, any cleaning fluid to inefficacy hoping it’s better than just water.
Known exactly how many jugs of water it takes to wash your hair and body *properly* so people won’t know and think you actually have a shower.
Stopped wearing make up every day to save it for when you are meeting people you know, on days without walk past them unnoticed without your usual face
Gone weeks in winter with no heating because you live alone and there are no pets to yap when yoru breath mists. Kept only cacti and succulents as they are the only plants to survive the harsh environment and your infrequent attention.
Heated one room at a time when you can afford it, retreated to the smallest room in the house, dashed through frozen hallways slippered and blanket wrapped.
Having a washing pile your height because there’s no washing powder or electric. Justifying the size of your wardrobe because of this.
Worn the same pants, socks, tights, anything more than one day in a row and hoped no one can tell.
Run out of deodorant and hoped people will think it’s another one of your feminist stances.
Run out of medication that allows you to function because you can’t afford the prescription charges.
Taken packs of the pill consecutively because contraception is still free and you can’t face the blood and pain as well as everything else and it’s cheaper than the tampons thatcher put tax on.
Still tipped coins into collecting tins because you know you are so very far away from being badly off.
Spending any money you do get on debts, shiny things you buy to forget all the above, to have something tangible that lasts beyond pay day and because you want to be generous.