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Monday, 2 January 2012

The King of Bling

A central atrium
from which five wings
like five points of a star.
And so the name was born:
Star Mall. The oldest wing,
The Christmas Gallery
(it having been completed
late December in the snow)
the builders called Phase 1,
lies empty and deserted.
The leases on its shops
expired six months ago -
leases which the landlord
for reasons of his own
(financial, certainly)
will not renew.
Looking at it now,
pad-locked and barred
with metal grills,
you'd think a prison gallery.

Josef and Marianne.
Homeless. Sole visitors,
their whole world packed
into a baby's buggy
pushed by Josef,
have wandered in
and paused a moment at
The House of Bling,
not so completely cleared
as was the rest. Their eyes -
their ears, perhaps - are caught
by remnants of past bling
reflecting light.
(Security, like clearing
and the cleaning,
has been less thorough here.)
As they lean in
to get a clearer view,
a man-sized door
set in the steel grid
covering the entrance,
gives slightly to their weight .

Josef now works briefly - but
intently -on the lock,
until the small door swings.
Then he unloads the buggy,
carries it across the door's
high threshold,
and after it their two worlds,
bag by plastic bag.
Five minutes maximum
and they are in.

A day or two
and word has spread:
they're joined by others
from the world beyond.
First in: two practised
squatters, man and wife
who get things organised:
some heat, some light,
a change of locks,
the duty rota, and so on.
Then come The Seers,
a boy band yet to make
their way. Two one-time
workers from a sheep farm -
now "a farm experience"
for schools and families -
and a former chief executive,
quite used to bling, she says.

Almost from the first
small crowds are gathering,
and growing by the day,
soon to include the local press
and then the nationals.
When Marianne gives birth,
Josef takes a packing case
and makes of it a cot,
half filling it
with (artificial) straw.
Bling Bling
writ large upon its side
is symbolising something,
you might think - a name
to call a glitzy child, perhaps?

The happiness occurred
on New Year's Night -
also symbolising something, you might think.
By morning light - about
the time the media begin
to make their presence felt -
someone notices graffiti
on the entrance tiles outside.
It reads: "All Hail, the King of Bling!"
And from the first floor gallery
above Bling House,
a star is hanging by its flex
and flashing merrily.

But then,
before the day is fully lit,
come Social Services
to take the boy child
into care, removing him
to Herriod Road
Young People's Home.

Now Josef blames himself
who'd had a dream
in which the whole of this had been
played out before his eyes
without from him the merest
twitch of recognition.

And so it is a tale
like any other.
Merely that.... except,
we're hearing -
reading on our social networks -
that the home,
in turmoil when Bling Bling arrived
(two youngsters having
recently absconded,
the milk consumption
having doubled - as it is apt
to do at times of stress),
was suddenly becalmed; a place
of peace and light.
Tranquility, no less!
Then when they walked
him round the grounds,
the birds flew down
and sang to him.

Therefore, we wondered...
might there be more
to come of this... of him?

20 comments:

Christine said...

I really like this take on the old story. Well done!

Mary said...

I was very much drawn into this take, Dave. A good poem to launch a new year.

Lydia said...

I am quite in awe of this work. And I quite love it. Thank you for this creative journey to begin the year. Wow, Dave!

Rachel Cotterill said...

Love it :) Creative and witty and just a really nice read.

rch said...

Hi Dave, nicely done, really love the remake of this old tale, have a great new year!

David Cranmer said...

Happy New Year, Dave. Wishing you and your family a prosperous and healthy 2012.

Louise said...

Happy New Year Dave - and a great way to revisit a well known story.

Brian Miller said...

nice dave..fabulous story telling...i like the fresh take on a known tale...happy new year man

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

A Dickensian flavour in this!

Happy New Year

Windsmoke. said...

Very witty and enjoyable :-).

JeannetteLS said...

Dickensian and Homeric both. I want the whole epic, thank you.

BragonDorn said...

Thanks for this! Beautiful a place of peace and light!

Mama Zen said...

This is so incredibly creative!

haricot said...

Happy New Year, Dave.
And thank you for the appropriate verse for the beggining of 2012, that makes us remember the great story.

manicddaily said...

Wonderful narrative flow. K.

ds said...

Quite a retelling. Thank you. Happy New Year!

The Unknowngnome said...

Well done Dave. It goes on still.

Dave King said...

Christine
Thanks Christine.

Mary
Thank you very much.

Lydia
Good to have your thoughts on it. Thank you.

Rachel
Thanks for those kind words.

rch
Thanks for comments and good wishes.

David
Hi, Really good to receive your good wishes. Mine also to you and yours.

Louise
Thanks Louise. Have a great year.

Brian
Good to get your take on my take! Thanks.

Tommaso
Your comment surprised me somewhat - until I thought about it. Think I see what you're getting at. Thanks.

Windsmoke
Thanks. Good to know you enjoyed it.

Jeanette
Homeric? Wow! Can I live with this, I wonder. Much thanks.

BragonDorn
Much thanks for kind words.

Mama Zen
A great comment to receive. Thanks, very appreciative.

haricot
Thanks for this - and a great 2012 to you and yours.

manicddaily
Much thanks for this.

ds
Thank you very much - and my good wishes.

The Unknowngnome
Indeed it does - DV, WP, USA. Aways good to hear from you.

Ygraine said...

A wonderfully vivid retelling of an ancient tale. So very appropriate for the New Year.
I so enjoyed reading it. Thanks, Dave :)

Dave King said...

Ygraine
Missed this. Humble apologies.
Many thanks for all your supportive comments.