Just about managing, what a sweet little phrase
Coined by the powers, the leaders, the Mays.
The ones without experience of this sort of strife
Because of their superior method for getting through life.
Just about managing sounds like things are okay
Like it’s tough, but you know, you can get through the day.
But look a little closer and what might you see?
That just about managing is the worst place to be.
It’s pay day to day pay, the last quid in your purse.
It’s retail, hospitality, it’s being a nurse
Or a teacher, or childminder; no matter what you do
If you’re just about managing, they’re coming for you.
It’s studying for years for an extra pound an hour.
It’s doing what you’re told by the ones who are in power.
It’s wishing for a break, but likely having none at all.
It’s continually robbing Peter so that you can pay Paul.
It’s the mums and the dads working opposite shifts,
Trying to string their tightropes over widening political rifts.
It’s having no security. You’re exhausted and alone
And no amount of working harder will help you own your own home.
It’s rents higher than mortgages and living on beans
Being told it’s your fault costs are higher than means.
It’s energy poverty, hoping night falls before the meter.
It’s avoiding Paul’s calls, to help stave off Peter.
It’s going without dinner so the kids have enough to eat
Or sharing a portion of chips and it being a real treat.
It’s dreading the weekly shop and living on BOGOF deals
Maybe full of sugar and fat, but that’s better than hunger feels.
It’s daily anxiety and compounded constant stress,
Defined as the working poor, the perennial depressed.
When you’re just about managing , it only takes one straw to break you;
It’s a hole in your sole but you just have to make do.
Just about managing. Just about failing.
Just about defeated. Just about staying in.
Just about exisiting. Just about pride.
Just about monotony and feeling dead inside.
It’s foodbank referrals, it’s rising unrest.
It’s sanctions for those deemed not doing their best.
It’s a failing health service for a nation that’s sick.
It’s wishing for a way out that is painless and quick.
It’s government terminology to justify this position;
Those ‘solving’ child poverty by merely changing the definition.
It’s a leadership out of touch, without empathy or respect.
It’s apathetic authority, but then, what should we expect.
Why should they care for text-book underachievers?
It’s not their job to care for, to house or to feed us.
They’re here to set the goalposts, to teach us a lesson
But fall by the wayside, they’ll take that as a blessing.
It might sound extreme, but just peel back the layers
It’s all about the game and to hell with the players.
When you’re just about managing, things always come undone
When you realise you’re on a ladder that only has one rung.
Just About Managing is a poem by Ms Moem.