Sunday, 16 April 2017

The Saddest Window In The World

Maybe you’ve seen it
Perhaps you only dreamed it
Walked past and given a shiver
An unintended quiver
For the saddest window in the world.

It’s really just four panes
In a boring, rough wood frame
It has little view; it faces a wall
In the thinnest alley of them all
It’s the saddest window in the world.

The sun has never ventured
Into the dark, dank centre
Of an alley full of muck
And garbage-stinking stuff
Below the saddest window in the world.

The glass is filthy too
Nobody ever looks through
The portal’s never opened
It’s crumbling, tired and broken
The saddest window in the whole world.

The room is now bricked up
There’s no-one to unblock
The concrete that surrounds it
The walls that grow around it
The forgotten window of the world.

Deep in the alley
Stirs a creature sadly.
The garbage starts to move and curl
But it’s not garbage. It’s a girl
Dressed in rags and shivering
Dreaming she’s not quivering
From cold and hunger night on night
From running, hiding, thieving, stealing
To try and grab another bite
A one whose life is riven
With harsh truths, unforgiven
Forgotten by the filthy world
No family that she knows of, or
A school, a home, a daddy
To hold her, or a mummy.

She is the saddest girl in the world.
She eats food that’s discarded
In bins. She is abandoned.
Her clothes are rags, held fast with grot.
She has no name aside ‘get out’

She is the saddest girl in the world.
There are no birthdays for her.
She hasn’t had cake, ever.
No blowing out of candlesticks:
She has never made a wish.

The saddest girl in the world
Doesn’t wonder anymore
Who lives and dies behind closed doors
Because she’s always hungry
And cold, and scared. She must be

The very saddest girl in the whole world.
She sits up in her garbage bed.
She puts her hands around her head.
Another day, another struggle
A thousand ways to get in trouble

For the saddest girl in the world.
But today she looks up; sees a window
To a room she could call her own.
It’s ten feet up. It looks so lovely
One day she’ll climb the walls and see

A way to open up a room
That maybe she could call her own.
And she would look out of the window,
See the garbage down below.
She says to herself: "Maybe today

I’ll find a ladder, find a way
And tonight – maybe tonight I can sleep
Without rats chewing at my feet
Without dark shadows looming large
Without the grimy seeping sludge

Maybe I’ll be safe, even warm.

I will be the happiest girl in the world.

It is the most beautiful window in the world."

Friday, 7 April 2017

The Great Five Pound Note Furore, And What Happened Next

Tallow in the fivers didn’t last so palm oil came in instead. That wasn’t as stable, so the Royal Mint did a deal with Vietnam, hybridising the paper with bahn da nem. That had a bit of a crackly feel in the pocket, according to market research. Ascorbic acid, phenols and tocopherols helped with the longevity of the new notes as did a gentle smoking process. 

It was found that rosemary was the most effective at this, which also gave the fivers a lovely woodland aroma.

People started to collect them; the money made wallets and houses smell more friendly. Banks were suddenly beset with tourists just wanting to sit there and inhale the pleasing memory of late summer in the forest. Pop-up fiver cafes started to appear in disused shops, where people paid in coinage to drink awful coffee and factory floor-scraped tea and just let their noses get away from the stress of the grimy streets, whilst projections of childhood-memory playing in copses flittered and fluttered across hastily-whitewashed walls.

The median cost for a 15 minute seat was £6, and waiting times were measured in hours.

Greengrocers, in a kind of Ui-esque dip, could sell their cauliflowers for a quid each, or four for one of the new fivers. There were fewer and fewer in circulation, so in demand were the notes. People weren’t getting rid of them; they were beautifully-scented and brought a sense of permanence to any home. The power of the suggestion of the aroma of nature seemed to wrest meaning away from the financial value of the notes, and put it back into altogether more nebulous, but somehow more real, terrain. The cities, in particular, could not get enough: people began to use them as modern nosegays as they wandered the filthy, three-weekly-collection streets, stepping over increasingly desperate nonfives without a second look.

By now, the upgraded five pound notes were changing hands for ten pound coins or more.

When the plague hit, and the food went bad, and the imports’ costs soared, and the caulis cost a tenner a pop, the Mint added monosodium glutamate to the notes. Aroma cafes added edible notes to their menus; the taste was irresistible. For those who could afford it, breakfast would be five pounds, lightly toasted, with irredescent GM-butter; lunch a five pounds soup with irradiated Nu-water. The evening meal was usually cat. There were always plenty of those; so quickly do pets become pests.

Most people didn’t have time or the inclination to wonder what the moral of all this was, so it was just left on the side, a dollop of indigestible fat amidst the fibre.