People On The Street By my friend and Liverpool Poet Bobby Parry..
Fumbling with my cardboard, hood up fastened tight, duffle coat my blanket, time to say goodnight? I wish it was that simple, I try to kid myself, that life will soon get better, the kerbside is my shelf. Share another rollie, bifters made from stumps, half a cup of Rosie, man this is the dumps. Rats and mice my neighbours, in the bombed out church, looking for the answers, God is in my search. I was once a Soldier, served in Middle East, I was shot to pieces, nature of the beast. Suffering depression, post traumatic stress, left my wife and children, because I was a mess. Drinking to forget times, comrades getting killed, always in the front line, now I am unskilled. Cider is my poison, it’s that or pissy tea, I have to beg for reason, it’s either you or me? Shuffling in the corner, sheltered from the rain, Billy wind is howling, on the streets again. Shoppers getting angry, because I litter thought, they never see the person, the fight that we have fought. I’m sitting to attention, because my bones are broke, the blisters form a cushion, my pain is un-bespoke. Words come out as bubbles, ignorant they burst, I’m just another hobo, the need to quench my thirst. Spare a pound or penny, food for thought for me, the drink I steal from Asda, I have to drink for free. It is pure addiction, I still have my pride, but my damaged mindset, see’s me back inside. Been inside for begging, it really beggar’s belief, it was such a blessing, somehow a relief. Inside offers freedom, free from noisy street, free from cold and hunger, free from blistered feet. But I’m living street-life, danger at my door, weary knowing someone’s, sharing my cold floor. Is he just a crack head? Or a family man? Picking up the pieces? Will he share his can? Turns out he was decent, he just lost his job, couldn’t pay the mortgage, lost his own few bob. This is what the script is, we’re not here by choice, every book’s a story, but we have no voice. To you we are the vermin, the dregs society, you turn away not thinking, a brush off like a flea. The itch is in your conscience, you’ll never end up here? Don’t be so one sided, I’m your biggest fear. Instead of condemnation, give your mind the space, ignorance may leave you, taking up my place. I am not a nutter, just fell on bad times, I never had a record, committed no such crimes. Here beneath the tower, the city hears the news, the tower my umbrella, it beats away the blues. This is cardboard city, welcome to my home, built on rack and ruin, not my kind of Rome. Funny how it seems, the substance has now gone, all my friends have left me, opt for Liverpool One. Bold Street is my future, Church Street I will pray, Hope Street there’s Cathedral’s, then there’s Hacken’s Hay. Places that I visit, bed down for the night, a sort of scruffy tourist, this just can’t be right. I am made unwelcome, in my own birthplace, just for getting lonely, the lines upon my face. Are lines of desperation, the age is hard to know, I’m grey before my time, the eyes of some old crow. This is what my life is, old but young at heart, looking for a break through, to offer me a start. But life is not that simple, there is no Easy Street, this is what my life is, people who I meet. Fall from bigger graces, it don’t count down here, this is classless city, Mean Streets they are clear? Artist’s come to paint me, students stop and stare, film crews they stalk me, Snappers always there. Recording life for posture, some try to help my plight, but it’s entertainment, on the box that night. Penny’s for my conscience, pounds for added weight, simplifying matters, it could be too late. Winter it is calling, Summers much the same, cold it has no boundaries, why am I to blame? Geezers doss beside me, giving me a nudge, offer me their freedom, I’m not there to judge. A battle with their demons, of silver foil or tin, the foil to chase a dragon, the tin, a can of sin. Crumpled heap behind me, beneath an orange lamp, the corpse of Joey Public, renowned for being a tramp? Joey was a ‘docker’, lost an 80’s dream, hit the streets for penance, died without a scream. Next time you walk by me, please don’t judge my plight, it might be you tomorrow, for now I’ll bid good night.
Copyright to photos on this website Gerard Fleming unless stated otherwise.