Poem of the Week - ‘Monopoly’ by Catherine Smith
Almost bankrupt and only recently released from jail,
she owes her ten year old
four hundred quid in rent
for landing on his new hotel in Bond Street.
He owns most of the West End
and several public utilities.
She pleads poverty. He points out
she could give him Leicester Square
and they could come to some arrangement
over her arrears. She thinks how
this is what capitalism does to children -
brutalises them, makes them worship
five-hundred pound notes, little red boxes,
encourages them to sniff out the weak
and charge them exorbitant rent,
rob them blind, make them beg.
She watches his fingers fatten on his stash
and she tells him, No.She’ll take her chances,
and hangs onto Leicester Square. She likes
the Japanese men with their cameras,
their perfect hair, their busy hands,
she likes the pigeon shit, the café
with the gilt-framed photo of the Queen
where the waiter gives her extra chocolate
on her cappucino, no favours asked.
This poem caught my eye as I was forced to play this game far too much when I was younger. Smith’s Monopoly is funny, clever, and obsevant of minute details of the game and of wider society. This poem (and many more) can be found in The Emma Press Anthology of Motherhood.