Postcards from Malthusia DAY FIFTY-ONE: Simon Barraclough

Retirement Plan


The green shoots of recovery were the fingers of zombies

pushing up through leafy graves in city cemeteries,

hauling rancid bodies down midnight streets,

through doors and windows, into the beds of sleeping families.


A flash new facility went up overnight,

too fast for royal gurning – a polytunnel killing jar

planted with rows of the elderly and points-based rejects,

mouths full of Kentish apples and potato peelings.


On-the-spot fines for pavement dawdlers, close-talkers,

were applied by captive-bolt pistol through the forehead,

sowing bits of broken skull onto pavements,

stepped on and scattered like a Lindt Easter Bunny.


Viscera were cocooned by recycling robots

and stitched into parachutes for the war

they had planned from Day One of the plebeian lock-in,

Do Not Resuscitate daubed on every door down to the river.


It was then that my plan came into its own.

In my muddy bivouac beneath Tower Bridge,

naked to outsmart the mudlarks’ detectors,

singing songs to the rats sizing me up for supper. 



Simon Barraclough is a London-based poet, writer and editor. His most recent book is Sunspots (Penned in the Margins).  He reports that he has ‘new poems, stories and music pecking at the shell’.


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