Postcards from Malthusia DAY EIGHT: Sam Phipps

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It’s almost as if we were a bunch of recalcitrant cows. Recalcitrant is a word I last heard spoken by Joyce Carol Oates of the grass on her childhood New Jersey farm. It was her task to cut it. That’s true. We met in a hotel but that’s another story. Lockdown – not to be confused with lockup though you could be locked down in a lockup, could you not? Lock up your data and back up your daughters. Look up to them too – they know more than you do. Today all the flour was gone, pasta was flying and I could not tell if this was panic buying or calculated selfishness buying or maybe the retail buyers had merely misjudged. Like I say, in this crisis there can be no heroism – we shall be lucky if we find a common decency (actually that was Suzanne Moore in yesterday’s Guardian and she was paraphrasing Albert Camus in La Peste, usually translated as The Plague.) One daughter talked last night about whether to leave London before the lockdown (if lockdown there is) and abandon the vulnerable children she art-therapises – or stay put in that mighty city and risk not making it north. When the paper runs out I’ll Bic my own skin, wash, scrub, repeat. I am asymptomatic.



Sam Phipps is a freelance writer based in Edinburgh. He is on the Writing Poetry MA at Newcastle University. His poetry has appeared in Poems for Grenfell Tower (Onslaught Press), the Bridport Prize AnthologyNutmeg and a special black ring binder.

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