Listen to ‘Takeaway’ by Henry Opiña
A poem in support of Living Wage Week ’23

NCW is delighted to support the national Living Wage Campaign for another year by commissioning a poem from writer and performer Henry Opiña.

Living Wage Week is Monday 6 – Sunday 12 November and you can read or listen to Henry’s poem below.



If I cut out Netflix and takeout,

I could put a deposit down for a 2-bed house in fourteen years.

So I’m getting on my bike delivering in the rain

Flashing lights that my good boss at my day job gifted me

because as good as the pay is she just can’t give the hours

And if I’m gonna do this she wants me to be safe

and now it’s not dusk that stops my shift but

whenever it is my muscles seize up.


The house I deliver to is nice.

It’s really nice.

I bet it’s nicer inside. And warm.

And I’m sorry to be so boring about how nice this house is

but all I can write when it’s cold is how much this house isn’t this.


What kind of job does someone need to rent a place like that?

I say rent because I can see the agent’s sign outside.

They could probably afford to buy that place if they got rid of

Netflix and the odd Chinese

but then where would I be on a Wednesday when it’s raining?

Because art is the first thing to die in a starving economy.

Ironically, takeaway food might be second.

It goes like this:



living wage,

the bare minimum

keeping me safe.


The next day when it’s sunny and people go out for lunch,

I decide I can afford to get a coffee in the morning and write, sitting still

while the others in the cafe move around me for once.

Henry Opiña is a Filipino writer and performer for stage and radio. He is currently developing a play exploring masculinity through the perspectives of figures in nature such as houseplants, whales and the humble Tyrannosaurus Rex. His empathy and playfulness are reflected in his exploration of alternative narratives and perspectives. In 2023, he finished an MA in Scriptwriting at the University of East Anglia.

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