The writing is on the wall in this story from Ali Smith
Above our small street three poplars in the distance flexed their spines against the shift of air.
I knew this because I was performing looking out of the window. I was play-acting insouciance. I was trying to stay calm. I was doing this because you were painting on one of the long walls in our front room.
In another possible version of our story that last sentence would’ve meant you were redecorating. Or, if we happened to be in one of our more aesthetically inspired periods, painting a mural on one of the walls of our front room. A landscape scene. A version of Livia’s garden like the one we once saw in the museum in Rome.
But this was right now and you were writing oversized words on the wall with red paint.
You were doing it with such urgency that paint was dripping down into itself from the sentences above to the words below.
So far the text on the wall, which started at the top of the wall like the words were shouldering themselves against or maybe holding up the ceiling, read:
blatant government corruption did not end in revolution
blatant institutional racism did not end in revolution
212,296 deaths and rising did not end in revolution
ruination of the planet did not end in revolution
cataclysmic oil industry did not end in revolution
21st century global slave labour did not end in revolution
women murdered by policemen did not end in revolution
outlawing of protesters did not end in revolution
border paranoia did not end in revolution
data control and facial recognition surveillance did not end in revolution
highest poverty and inequality levels did not end in revolution
foodbank dependency did not end in revolution
hungry children did not end in revolution
rivers full of sewage did not end in revolution
cost of living total financial scam did not end in revolu
It said all this in letters bigger than our heads. It took up nearly the whole wall. It was also really ugly.