La vie en rose: A Poem

I grew up in a culture that classified jobs,

Categorised them as good or bad, as worthy

Of respect and unworthy, not honest and dishonest,

Degrading people, judging them, for getting up

In the morning, doing their jobs, inventing entire

Backgrounds for them that were rarely, remotely accurate.


A job and a stamp on the forehead. I was told to complete

High school. I was taught that I had to excel and be the best

At everything, be the full package, or I would end up as a cashier (oh beware)

At the slightest sign of failure, and oh, I did fail, a lot according

To this system, and I hurt, I suffered, I felt inferior, people focusing

On the things that I couldn’t do as well, that I actually didn’t care about.


Who was interested in callings, in passion, in talent, in vocation?

All of that didn’t matter, the antiquated system raising monkeys,

Wiping out everything that matters, everybody with their heads squeezed

Through the same tunnel to get stuck, to remain stuck, to think in

Terms of good and bad, of minimum wage and wages blown out of

Proportion, what, don’t we get up at the same time, what, don’t we work

The same hours? What is that makes your job better than mine?


Who decided? Why is there such a revolting discrepancy between

Our wages, between our lifestyles. Some people have at least one car,

Some have none, others own a house, others pay more and more rent,

Some have trust funds, others are on their own, counting every single

Little expense, some accumulate wealth on the backs of others, the money

That could save a world, stagnating in an untouchable account, thrown

Out the window whilst the world is burning, the chasm between us is an

Ever-growing, ever-rotting hellhole.


I was told to go to university, I was told to get degrees, I was told

What to study, what would be best for the world, not for me,

What would be of use, what would make good money, what the

Inhumane machinery needed, I started to put my foot down, so much

Time lost already, I wanted to be on my own and listen to what I was

Meant to do in this world, and even though nobody lives without the arts

They are not real work, they are unrealistic, they are a dream, they don’t

Serve society, they don’t pay the bills, they don’t do this, they don’t do that.

Get off my back.


You’re a robot, you’re a foot soldier, can’t you see? What are you living for?

I got my two degrees and did everything right, did what I was told to do

And what I wanted to do and I look at the job market, and I think, are you

Kidding me with this? What an illusion, what a lie it all is, what a tide.

Drought, left and right. The squeeze, the squeeze, keeping us all on a leash.


Early twenties, up to my eyeballs in debt. I do what I do on my own time,

I do it for free, I do it for me, I do it for you. And they want me to pay up,

They want me to have that good job, that job that gives the bank its money

Back, no matter what, it’s all about the numbers, oh, please don’t put yourself

In my shoes. They want me to sell my soul to the devil, forget what I learned,

Forget my ideals, my passion, make myself smaller to fit in their mould.


I know what my mind can do and it is not for you and your mental

Prisons. You want to drain me. You don’t care how I make it, what my

Life looks like, how much pressure you apply, you just want to see the numbers

Rise. Get a house. Get a car. Get this. Get that. Out of touch. As easy as that.


Relate to a generation different than your own and the times they live in.

Do something worthy of you, do something that takes your worries away.

That’s how they get you. That’s what they don’t comprehend. I don’t choose

Money problems. I choose to fulfil my calling. I want to make sense. I have a purpose.

Everyone does. I won’t put a foot in my grave just now. You’re not listening.

I won’t sell out. I won’t contribute to a system that drains us of our humanness.

I don’t need your ill-advised judgements.


The solution for everything, money, money, money, it fucking stinks.

Keep your propaganda to yourself. I’ve heard enough. I’ve seen enough.

So out of touch. With yourself. With what you could do. You bought the lie.

With your full bank account and feeling of being obsolete on every other level.

Not knowing who you are, age 30, age 50, age 70, dying unknowing, unreached

Potential. Wasted. The unique calling that you didn’t listen to. Exchanged for

Money. It was the inhumane mind that fucked it up, abused its good use.


We are so good at abusing each other, stomping each other

Into the ground, making each other pay, drain, drain, and

Dismantle the clay. People have to eat. People have to drink.

That’s how they get us. Our basic human needs. The audacity.

What does that say about the system we live in? No money?

No food. No water. No roof above our heads. Working, working,

The definition is too old, no time for anything else, work, for

The profit of decadent exploiters on top of the cake, telling

Us that we are nothing, that we are exchangeable, the fear

Runs deep, losing a job, a death sentence, they got you by the

The throat, making you feel dependent and powerless, that’s

What makes them rich.


Working hard, only the ones on top?

Are you kidding me? Working one job, two jobs, not working

Hard, no, not your job, so basic, so unqualified, these toxic

Categorisations that have been branded into people’s brains,

Their self-esteem. Keeping you on a leash. Benefiting from

The inception that you’re worthless, that you should be grateful

For every penny given to you.


When are you going to stop and breathe? And see?

It is enough. We give away our data for free, we give

And we give and they profit, and we see nothing in return.

They sit on their wealth and watch the world degenerate.

Keeping us on the edge, barely making it, talk about dignity,

Not putting that in your hands. It’s unsustainable. It’s not holding up.


You’re already exchanging humans with robots. And then what?

A potato that got too hot and useless, carelessly dropped?

I wonder, I really do, how people would come to their senses

And actually tune into themselves, and discover all the things

They never thought they could do, if money was the last thing on

Their mind, blocking their creativity, universal basic income,

And you’ll see.

two bistro table sets
Photo by Nadi Lindsay on




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