by Jay Bernard
We losers are winning now that the losers have lost.
The moaning is getting annoying, let’s get back to the winning.
The thing that we won when the losers were kneeling and begging,
before they came with their losing and coming to us with the cost.
The looser it is the riper it is for the losing. My sorrow lets loose
on the nation, opens its arms to the weeping, a basket of beans
for the wounded, nappies and sugar and fish cakes and coupons
are paving the road for the moving: we winners with winners
And losers out there with their losing.
To lose and to lose. To be the last in the lotto of loss. I sent my sorrow
to mingle with yours. To meet at the pub and lessen the pain of your losing.
It’s the only question we ask. Will anyone lessen the losing?
Will anyone lessen the loss?
You can’t make the boss listen to us, the boss never spends
lunchtime with us, only when profit and cost and money or
money or us comes into the balance and toss of a coin is enough.
I have school but I don’t have a house. My mother’s confused
as to how I can shout the answers to Mastermind but nothing
is working out. “The English have won in the lotto of life” —
aren’t we all English now? This coast is great ‘cos our cots where in it,
our passport as good as it got. Now someone else wins the lot.
You’re either or neither or not. There’s no middle ground,
there’s no way round and some of us gave all we got.
Get lost with your truth and your news which never speaks for our lot.
We lessen the loss with a curry, a pint ad a curry for mummy,
who can’t understand all the fuss, she can’t understand why we must.
Back in her day it wouldn’t have stood, back when the great and the good
could chill a nation to frost, could ration and batter and murder
the young and never be seen to have lost.
I try to ensure I can always recall the particular moment we lost,
it slips through my fingers at most. Another, another,
the memory conjured and lost. Losing and losing and loss.
Never recouping the cost.
"Losers" by Jay Bernard, from SURGE by Jay Bernard, copyright © 2019 Chatto & Windus. Used by permission of Penguin Random House U.K.