I can’t remember the name of the square.
It wasn’t Paternoster, but it was… nearby.
Anyway, I’m sat there smoking a cigarette and this
Woman, I guess, approaches.
Kind of hobbles up to the square, up the steps.
She’s… just… I mean, she’s just a sack.
She’s an old paper sack filled with
Paper sacks. A sack full of sacks.
And her face looks like an old football.
One of those old footballs
Where the plastic bits have come off
So it’s just a worn canvas ball, really
But bleached by the sun
So it’s kind of crispy and wrinkled.
Kind of angular and that.
Like a crusty old football that’s been burnt by the sun
So it’s all tough and leathery.
And her face is just kind of hidden amongst these rags
Like her face is just this tiny… impression.
It’s the impression of a face,
An old, tough, leathery football-face
Hidden amongst a bundle of soggy, shitty, tattered rags
Sticking out of a paper sack.
That’s filled with paper sacks.
Only the paper sacks are all battered and shitty too.
Kind of like they’ve been left on the street too long.
Maybe on the top floor of a multi-storey car park or something
In summer time, like, so the dust from the cars has just…
Coated these bags
And the sun has just
Just burnt the dust right onto them.
Like a sack that’s not made of paper anymore
But is instead made from the vestiges of old rainwater and some dust
That was spat from the undercarriage of a car
Onto the pavement,
And burnt into something that resembles a paper sack.
Anyway, she hobbles over to me
Reaches into the bin which is next to me
And just rummages through it.
Just rifles through it to see if she can find anything useful
Or just anything really
Something, nothing – doesn’t matter
I mean that’s hardly the point, right?
Like, this is her routine.
This is her job, I guess, the way she feeds herself.
This is how she takes her mind off things
So she pulls an empty coke can from the bin,
She drinks it,
And then she leaves.
And I just sit there,
Just watching a paper sack
That’s filled with paper sacks
That’re made from dust and spit
That have been burnt into a crusty shell,
Wander off down Wood Street, or Bread Street
Or some other fucking street.
I just watch this paper sack hobble off down the road,
I finish my cigarette,
I stamp it onto the pavement,
And I leave.