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The New Economy

June 5, 2009

The rattling cans fell silent and the rattlers
stiffened to attention, equidistant,
as if on military display.

On the clearing’s far side, a massive hangar,
slabbed together with corrugated iron,
stewed in the sun’s gut.

One door, no windows. “You live there?”
Laughter churned through the ranks.
One woman spoke,

“This building is the last hope for Speckland,
a hut of refuge for its people,
a slim dignity.

Here, those forced into tiny squats in Leith,
twelve to a room, with only Speckish

for nutrition, can now find fulfilment
and five-minute toilet breaks
while studying

the language of Shakespeare and Thatcher
by selling off last year’s mobile
phone technology.”

At that moment, the door opened and a shock
of ragged men, women and children
tumbled out,

sharing cigarettes, pulling open Kraft lunch boxes
and cans of Coke Zero, setting
alarms to vibrate.

“For six pounds a month, you can feed
a child a week of recycled meat.
For twelve,

a family can be trucked out from the city.
For five hundred, your name
will be immortalised

in Speck City on a plaque of solid aluminium.
Please give generously, we rely
on your gifts.”

by Rob A. Mackenzie

Download the MP3

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  1. Greg
    June 7, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    Such a well-wrought desperation…

  2. Maureen Jivani
    June 8, 2009 at 11:52 am

    the images, the precision of language, the weight of the words…all wonderful.

  3. June 10, 2009 at 9:28 am

    Heinous. Glorious. Beautifully writ & read. Our dystopias are no longer distant. The future is right here with us.

  4. June 12, 2009 at 5:11 am

    Reminds me of parts of Jeannetter Winterson’s ‘The Stone Gods’, only more chilling. Very compelling.

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