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April 15, 2024

Babies on Fire

By Ian Mullins

Babies On Fire

Trainspotting (1996) Danny Boyle

Half-price with a UB40,
so after an interview for a job
I didn’t want and didn’t get,
I wandered along to an Odeon
full of students wearing scarves
indoors and discussing
what to do with ‘these unions.’

Everyone was quiet when
the baby died; but in the scene
where Spud is obliged to attend
a job interview, then blows it
by the simple expediency
of being himself

they hooted
and screamed,
wept and howled
as though witnessing
some strange archaic ritual
they already knew
they’d by-passed
by passing their ‘A’ Levels;
because Mummy and Daddy
had jobs in the city
and an unburnt holiday home
mortgaged in Wales.

And I sat very still,
very cold, replaying that morning
a hundred times over,
wondering if the interviewer will ask
why I’m wearing a black tie
and a stomped-on face;

why my hands smell of gasoline
and my head is on fire.

Article © Ian Mullins. All rights reserved.
Published on 2023-03-06
Image(s) are public domain.
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