The Wasteland II (poem)

Whitefriars Shopping Centre, Canterbury, Early December:

“John died on Sunday,”

“That’s the way the world rolls,”

“Of course I’m angry with you Thomas, you lost my boots,”

“Usually you have to spank him by the time you leave,”

“I have to buy something smart but boring and modern and not too expensive, and then set fire to it,” said the theatre student, “when I did Shakespeare I had to buy a dress.”

A lot of the fashion and homewares shops have symbolic objects; Hamsa amulets, evil eyes, Illuminati logos, Buddhas, crosses and Ganesh figures. With Made in China stamped on the bottom, cast in plastic or metal alloy. Empty symbols. Designed and purchased by atheists.

I am here as a sales-girl, selling glass animals, made in Canterbury by artisans. I stand in a cold wooden booth, the wind moving the glass angels which hang on tiny silver strings.

“The good days outweigh the bad days.”

A man in a black plastic anorak comes to look at the wares. “A. Welch & Sons Funeral Directors,” embroidered in white on the chest. He browses through bottle glasses.

“Hopefully he’s dead,” says a man with a bike and glasses, I might have misheard him. There is a gold coin on the side next to me, chocolate money, I assume it came from the man who is stalking my colleague but I might be wrong.

Glass is a very slow moving liquid. You think it’s solid but if you watch it for a hundred years or more it forms a puddle, gravity pulling it ever downwards.

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