Tell A Tale in 500 Words

The prophet you overlook By Hetty mosforth

It is a Sunday afternoon and I am stood on my soapbox in the city centre. My voice is one in chorus of hecklers, all of us getting in the way of shoppers reaching the mid-season sales. We clarion call them away from the comfort of cut price commodities, and back to Allah, or Jesus or socialism.



My ambitions are not mighty, I do not speak for God. All I want is for the world to wake up - for people to stop snoozing through the same old, same old.



I am an alarm clock, alarming the public. I am running down my batteries with calling.



(Wake up, you people! Wake up!)



We switch off ourselves at the end of a long day and switch on the TV, eating the lotus flowers that media corporations hand us. Foreign conflicts in the news, get interspersed with action movies. Nothing is quite real.



(Wake up!)



There are fiery-tressed forests on our screens - it is the same story. Tsunamis fill other people's front rooms with muddy water and birds go swimming through oil spills. We watch them drown, those sorry-eyed and sodden strangers.



Our earth is dying incrementally and we act like we don't feel the change. How long can we live in a fracked-up country, in a hellfire of our own making?



(Wake up!)



We need luck to fix the world. We're working with a faulty system. See how money spirals up, like smoke on a breeze. The rich get richer and the rest get squeezed. We are all down and out, soothed by slick words and smooth lies. Even the best of us are just scratching in the dust for a living.



There are those who warm themselves on pyres of dispensable cash. They should not be our idols. We need men who will rage in the wilds, who will rain hard on their cruel and greedy parade.



(Wake up!)



Do not forget, inequality is everywhere. Hypocrisy is everywhere. The proof of it is in our hands. Far off, shoddy cement castles come crashing down on the women who make our clothes. Their last works are hung up on rails worldwide, ready for snatching. Our clothes are memento mori, folded up in branded paper bags.



We suffer the problems. We are the problems.



(Will you wake up?)



Passersby look on me with the glassy eyes, stubborn against seeing. To them I am an old man in a dirty coat, with nowhere better to go than the pavement. It would boggle them to know that I choose to be here, that this pavement is my glorious stage and I am singing into the dying day.



I watch them walk on by, to department stores and chain restaurants. There is a safety behind sliding glass doors, a false haven for the fearful.


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