Arms bent round bars and bucket,
the knot in his bandanna scrapes his skull
the same way wind stings his skin,
silver chafes his chest.
At night he coughs up blobs of mercury.
It never goes, that hiss of static in his blood,
even the residual shivers of electric
and crackle of cables
long after the current’s shut off
still creep into his bones.
His skin is stained with silver,
the same that crosses his palm
at the end of each week, keeps the brush
in his grip and his legs swinging.
He looks down the field at ranks of robots
slimed with snails
trailing nitrate along caustic limbs.
He’s standing in a steel field spitting static.
The M62 rises and swells,
veins of traffic humming in heat
or fizzing through rain
past a fist of cooling towers.
Ferrybridge sticks two fingers up
to another contract, a file of pylons striding
across the next field, arms open.
Wakes shivering, chewing silvered fingers.
Piece of piss
as long as you don’t mind feeling
your lungs tighter than a gnat’s arse,
or blistering your skin if you pratt about,
losing the plot seventy foot up.
And when you’ve done for the day
you can sling your overalls
in a corner, go buy beer,
get pissed and punch someone,
feel the power pulse through your fingers.