The People

by Michael Conley

Below on the street, the people wearing balaclavas are shouting that nobody ever listens to them. They’ve thought of a simple shape and are painting it on many surfaces.

The people wearing rubber masks of historical figures are leaning against doorframes and shouting back, Of course nobody ever listens to you. It’s because what you say is so stupid that it can be reduced to a simple shape.

Whenever the people wearing balaclavas shout a slogan, the people wearing rubber masks of historical figures sarcastically correct the grammar. This only makes the people wearing balaclavas shout louder.

Sometimes, the people wearing conspicuous symbols of religious faith, the people wearing the colours of their local sports team, the people wearing no underpants, secretly, the people wearing fedoras at a jaunty angle, the people wearing very new, very white trainers, the people wearing t-shirts trivialising sexual assault, the people wearing the traditional garments of their homeland, the people wearing vivid green silk pyjamas and even the people wearing the inherited clothing of their dead aunts and uncles join in with the shouting.

The only ones who never get involved are the people wearing expensive suits, who remain in their high-rise apartments, silently high-fiving and taking all the most exhilarating drugs.

Michael Conley is a poet from Manchester who occasionally writes flash fiction too.

  1. #1 by E A M Harris on June 20, 2016 - 11:53 am

    Great story. I really love the humour and implied comment.

  2. #2 by Christine on June 25, 2016 - 7:35 pm

    I love this. Have read it over and over. I even copied it into MS Word so I could see the word count. I was so impressed with how much you crammed into just over 200. The humour and the fearless way you use laboriously long names in repitition. How wonderfully clever. I want to read more of your work.

    Hope this isn’t too gushy.

    • #3 by mickconley on June 28, 2016 - 9:05 am

      Hi Christine and E A M. I’m really thrilled you both liked it. I do have other work (mostly poetry) online if you Google my name, and I have pamphlets with Flarestack Poets and Eyewear Publishing. Thanks for your comments, they meant a lot to me, it’s lovely to hear positive feedback.

  3. #4 by laurenebell on June 27, 2016 - 4:56 pm

    A beautiful and very true account of life as we know it. I actually smiled to myself reading the last line. Such a succinct style too. A brilliant piece!

  4. #5 by Kathryn Smith on June 30, 2016 - 8:34 pm

    I love this piece of exceptional writing. It feels so relevant to our current divisions too

What did you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: