Poem

Maxine Beneba Clarke
Entitlements

no one likes a politician

 

no matter how good you are, no matter

how hard the job, no matter

               how you serve the public

 

and whoever you love, and

whatever you’ve done

 

the press, they’re like bloodhounds

               and they’ll always find it

 

in the public interest, it’s true

 

like if your kid’s being teenaged

      just this once

 

you better believe the herald sun

will go full

               MALIA OBAMA

               SIPS CHAMPAGNE

               UNDERAGE

on you

 

no one likes a politician

 

and sure, you can fly the family first class too

but you lose a lot, in public

                                                            office

don’t you

two hundred thousand for an annual wage

but still, you never see the easter hat parade

at your daughter’s school

 

             you’re always away

 

marriage break-ups don’t poll well

part of the gig is staying together

                                            everyone knows that by now

 

the sacrifice

 

               you’re not

doing it for the pension, anyhow

 

 

no one likes a politician

 

then they retire on an annual lifetime income

               of more than the average national wage

all paid up by the average national taxpayer

                                       collected

while in a new corporate consulting job

               in the same area as their ex-portfolio

 

no one likes a politician

               but they earn the entitlements, you know

Maxine Beneba Clarke
is The Saturday Paper’s poet laureate, and the author of The Hate Race and Foreign Soil. She is a winner of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Poetry.