A problem is an invitation
to go round the houses at the council,
where kind pencil pushers have had to renounce their power. Whether it be pensions or housing,
problems arise regardless of the system’s intention to solve them. It is our responsibility, we are told,
to navigate the sea of local government departments,
dedicate time and effort, be vocal and careful to keep notes, stay afloat in times of austerity with no help or hope,
to try, to attempt to prove we are worthy of support…
And we’re out here trying our hoojars off!
With heaving chests our pure intentions get brushed off!
Each turn is a circle we run round in.
From number to number a place we are lost and never found in. Ringing and ringing and bringing a begging bone each time we phone, trying to protect our own we call and scrawl emails but no one can assist us - try another department, drift aimlessly into the system.
On hold, our hopes robbed.
It’s no one’s job.
We are fobbed off.
We are past it
and passed from

Between these pillars and posts we have
a valuable perspective for people with power to consider.
We have walked in between these crumbling columns for too long; The pillars of our society seem to be falling down but we are strong. We need to find the power to build tower of support -
hear our plea to meet us face to face.
We wish everyone would take pride in their posts.
Use your position for good and work together to succeed at your station. If you have to, send a letter demanding discretion at work so you can find a sense of achievement,
acknowledge the agreement of a council and its people, fight for the autonomy to get things done,
think of the common good and know you are not the only one, empower yourself to empower others,
don’t divert to someone else and don’t divide everything up, do bits and bobs make sure to hand over your jobs.

We seek a sense of relief - keep your promise and help us feel heard. No longer drifting, but steering a ship with direction,
together one day we could be
encased in a place of connection.
We bring these suggestions with good intentions
and hope that they serve as a guide.
With willing we can come together to prop up these pillars and emblazon these posts with pride.

Poem by Ellen Moran commissioned by Poet in the City and University of Warwick with generous support from the ESRC and Sidney E. Frank Foundation as part of Newcastle's Poetry Exchange Hub.