2015 07 – Streetwise (poem)

                        STREETWISE

 

The cardboard boxes

the bin-bags

the life of foxes

in posh store

doorways

awakened

in Central London

by the cleaner’s roar

dreaming thinking

I once had a flat

blinking

at the dawn

but I had no job

once I mowed

the rich man’s lawn

on the minimum wage

out sick

no longer engaged

Job Seeker’s Allowance

and rent paid

hardly a life enhance

but in the dry

then before the committee

2015 in this great city

without money

without pity

was I trying hard enough

that zero-hour restaurant

for example

prove to us you seek work

four times a week

through your library

computer

says she

with the purple fingernails

cuter

than Sally Bercow

you’ll find your skills

or you’re off the till

off

six weeks

then a year

food-banks

bleak

rent off

now streetwise

unemployment register

off

head full of words like

kill

chill

shrill

ill

and

nil

somewhere in Oxford Street

competing with the dope-heads

the alcoholic piss-the-beds

any spare change

avoided

like I had the mange

then the law

move along

but where to

just fuck off

where to

anywhere

see if I care

hear me sing

Land of Hope and Glory

for a copper

when I should be singing

Land of Dopes and Tories

I must warn you

anything you say- !

any spare change

 

                        Wilson John Haire.

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