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06 | 16 : Rob A Mackenzie


Photo by Gerry Cambridge

Money makes the world go wrong in this poem from Rob A Mackenzie, the last from the other 06 | 16 readers:

The Packs

Something is wrong: the wolves drag their spectral bodies
through spritely towns, which have never known the burial
of bones in back gardens. The sound of snapping plastic

echoes between fenceposts: the sound of anger, as today
money is anger, threat, demand, and lack of it also
anger. A man said to Fleck, passing him on Princes St,

‘I live in a world where the flies have started dining out
on other flies,’ and when he shrank into the Disney Store
the stuffed animals seemed to shrink too. Money is fear,

lack of it also fear. The latest preoccupation is erotic
abstinence, once practiced only by the desperate
or deviant, now the bookshops can’t get enough of it:

Mind, Body and Spirit, such wholesomeness that floors
shudder beneath every lightweight addition. The wolves
rise early to stack shelves and something is wrong with

the chief banker’s intruder alarm, which wails around
the clock even after wolves attack it with a pick-axe.
When they hunch forward, raise ears and bare teeth,

it means they are afraid – in other words, they’re about
to eat you alive, business as usual at the Disney checkout.
The financiers are dining out on other financiers,

which at least gives the poor a break, although the sound
of snapping limbs wakes them up each morning.
Soon, Fleck thinks, this will all seem as natural as aerosol.

from Fleck and the Bank


Rob A. Mackenzie is from Glasgow and lives in Edinburgh. His first full poetry collection, The Opposite of Cabbage, was published by Salt in 2009 and followed by his Salt Modern Voices pamphlet, Fleck and the Bank in 2012. HappenStance Press published his pamphlet, The Clown of Natural Sorrow, in 2005. He is reviews editor of Magma Poetry magazine and blogs at Surroundings.

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