I am a Carer

I care because I do,

It’s true

When you forget,

you can’t walk,

you can’t talk,

your body’s shaking

mind’s quaking

with fear,

year after year,

as you plead to God to let you die

 

Even when you

Bite me

Fight me

Attack me

Back me into a corner

Call me a cunt

Tell me to fuck off

Because I know it’s terrifying

You’re crying, dying

craving relief

From the pain

But you remain

 

I am a carer

And I’m Polish

Romanian

Lithuanian

Zimbabwean

Mauritian

Ghanaian

Nigerian

Filipino

Indian

Chinese

it doesn’t matter

Where I’m from

My background

Cos when the horrors abound

I’m there

 

Even when all I want is to

Crawl in bed,

When your head is swarming

the lies are spinning,

the demons are winning,

And I want to help you, but all I can do is hold your hand

And say it will all be okay

When we both know you’ll never be okay

 

I am a carer

Even when my back’s breaking,

Head’s aching,

Body’s baking,

After a 12-hour shift where we’re short-staffed

Where I’m pushed to my limits,

Worked to I drop,

Until I flop into bed,

Let me make a confession,

This is a thankless profession,

But you don’t do it to be thanked, right?

But it’d be nice, to have a slice of gratitude,

Let me know I’m doing some good

 

I love it when you smile

It’s all worthwhile

To see you happy

But happiness and smiles

Don’t pay my bills

 

Me scraping by on minimum wage

Can you gauge my desperation, my frustration,

As my manager hates,

The relatives can’t wait,

To complain,

As my brain is fried, from

When I helped, never hesitated,

Maybe I’ll leave,

Go somewhere I’m appreciated

 

I am a carer

As we play chess,

As you raise and I

Call your bluff

And I love our

Sing-alongs,

it’s a long way to Tipperary,

I’ll hug you when it’s scary

As we paint Jackson Pollocks,

I don’t care if they look like bollocks,

As we dance to Dean Martin,

Tuck you in your little wooden bed

And aint that a kick in the head

 

I am a carer,

Through the bureaucracy

The hypocrisy

Through CQC keeping tally

Of every rule we’ve broken,

It’s unspoken

That we’re the soldiers

Sent to the frontlines

With the generals in their ivory towers

And when will we reap the spoils of war?

 

Let me say something

To those who know nothing

Wiping arses isn’t the worst part of the job

Not by a long shot

The worse part is seeing you wither, decay,

Day after day,

Not eating, drinking,

I’m thinking, where’s your relief,

As you struggle to breathe,

I want you to die,

Not because I’m cruel or two-face

But cos you’ll be in a better place

 

I care because I do,

It’s true,

Who cares about me?

Not my corporation

The pen-pushing administration

Paying me minimum wage

Like I’m shit in their shoe

Let me tell you

You wouldn’t have bonuses, BMWS,

You wouldn’t be making 2m a year

If it wasn’t for me

The sweat on my brow

The strength of my back,

My commitment to the cause

I’m not asking for a round of applause,

A simple thank you will do,

Not being treated like I don’t matter,

Like I’m expendable,

Because I know I’m indispensable

Because I know the best way to care for your mum

Your dad,

Your brother,

Your sister,

Your grandma,

Your grandpa

Your friend

Your husband

Your wife

As they fight for their life

 

I am a carer

I care because I do,

It’s true

But who cares about me?

 

*Author’s Notes*

 

I spent a year of my life working in a care home which basically meant I spent 12 hours a day making cups of tea and wiping arses, all for minimum wage.  This poem is dedicated to all the amazing carers and healthcare assistants out there.

 

Watch me perform this in this livestream organised by the Innerverse.  To watch me go to 34.00 to 40.00 but please watch some of the others.  Kitty and Westley were superb singers.

 

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