Two days after the solstice, a few thousand discontents marched against the idea that disengaging from trade and customs agreements with a vast block of neighbouring countries will make us better than all of them. They marched through the thoroughfares of the capital, watched over by jittery pigeons and the dead bronze eyes of statespersons and warlords. All involved comported themselves in a civilised manner, no shop fronts were smashed nor police cars torched. That is why nothing will come of it.#
In the group stages of the World Cup tournament, a great nation defeated an inferior one. It is of no doubt that the great nation will go on to win the entire tournament. It is generally held that the inferior nation deserved to lose, not so much because of any unforgivable crimes committed by their state in recent years but rather because mediocrity runs through the blood of every composer, surgeon and postal worker that passed through their mother’s birth canal within that particular region. Everybody wishes they were born in the victorious nation. In between the goals, the cameras lingered on the odd attractive female with the nation’s ensign painted on their smooth cheeks. What beautiful women they were, each birth canal an arch of victory. It must be something in the soil or the water. Failing that, it must be God. God must love their country so.#
Five minutes before the end of the swimming lesson, I noticed a middle class couple from the next session head to the benches and sit on my daughter’s towel. They remained sat on it, taking selfies with their own daughter. After the lesson I approached the father and asked for my daughter’s towel in what must have been a robust tone, as he fumbled with the towel before handing it to me. They had that joyous, carefree manner of gentrifiers, not sparing a thought for the previous state of a living space before they plonk their arses down upon it. There was no word of apology. On taking the towel from him, the word “nob” might have passed from my lips.#
A cluster of tiny yellow flowers dropped from a nondescript shrub onto the pavement below. Little manga stars on the stained dark concrete, showing its age and history through the textured strips that signified the fault lines of fibre optic cables and gas pipes. The tiny yellow flowers were effervescent and youthful in their moments of death, spiralling a little in the breeze and rising upwards a moment in slight thermal currents before they finally came to their places of rest. In the coming days they will either be swept up by a conscientious homeowner or left to decompose into a dark mush that, if not for the concrete, would have nourished the soil where the shrub’s roots spread like slow thoughts.
Don’t go looking for an extra magpie when you only see one. Accept the coming of sorrow. Thank the stupid magpie and be on your way.>