The New Economy
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
the language of Shakespeare and Thatcher
by selling off last year’s mobile
At that moment, the door opened and a shock
of ragged men, women and children
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.
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.”