Posted in Blog, Creative Writing, Writing

Swapping Stories With A Stranger

Last night,

the sun was still alive,

looming above,

but flagging with fatigue,

and the sky was a soothing shade of blue.

There were bottles,

broken and blessed on the brown and grey stones of the pavement,

as I crept past,

lighting up a cigarette,

hoping not to halt the slumber of a man who had clearly had enough.

Enough alcohol?

Enough of life’s endless cruelty?

It was hard to say,

but there was a story of great sadness in the scattered bottles,

that I wasn’t sure he was ready to tell.

His eyes opened, despite my best efforts,

glancing to the busy buses that screamed past, and then, with a smile, up to me.

I am not from the North,

so I find it strange to talk to strangers,

but I let him talk,

leaning up against the whitewashed wall,

one scuffed shoe poised at the toes,

like a ballerina,

as he unfolded the map that had brought him to that little corner of the great graveyard of Kent.

He said his mother prayed for him,

and I promised I would too.

He said I’d make a beautiful bride,

and I told him that I’d already tried,

but some things just don’t work out.

He insisted that it would happen,

and I insisted that we go shopping for sandwiches.

The bottles stayed scattered as we parted ways,

both walking down long roads,

with new stories in our pockets,

and less bricks on our backs.

Posted in Blog, Creative Writing, Personal, politics, Writing

Yes, In Your Back Yard, Katherine.

I saw a plan for new homes this morning,

in the newspaper.

Oh.

Thank God.

I thought.

Surely they’re needed.

The streets are no place for people,

but people find their place on the streets,

and homes are good.

Necessary,

nice, even?

Right?

Wrong.

Not to be NIMBYs,

but the neighbours have lost it at the very thought of it.

“Schools are too full!”

“Roads are too busy!”

“There’s no room at the doctors!”

There’s no room at the inn, apparently,

which would be funny,

because it’s almost Christmas,

but isn’t funny,

because it’s winter,

and there are people who make busy roads their home,

kids who live in broken down B&Bs,

going to school with growling stomachs,

lungs full of damp from the cramped hotel room they share with their mother,

who was running from fists that don’t care how much she just wants to live.

So,

we have to make room at the inn.

We have to make a little sacrifice,

because it’s Christmas,

or we’re human,

whatever works,

whatever gets people off the streets,

whatever gets poor families from busted B&Bs to a real home,

whatever gets people,

real people, by the way,

somewhere secure.

You can find somewhere else to walk your dog,

Katherine.

You could write to your MP about expanding infrastructure,

Katherine.

You could accept that people other than yourself have a right to a home,

Katherine.

They called it “Out of sight, out of mind” in the paper.

It reminded me of home.

The estate that made me,

high up on a hill,

crouched behind trees,

with ravens in branches,

rumours of horror and crime to keep “good people” away.

We were terrifying,

I’m sure.

Most people forgot we were there,

except the postman,

who took pity on us,

and didn’t see the poor as a dirty secret.

Posted in Blog, Creative Writing, Personal, Writing

Swanscombe Used To Be Such A Nice Little Town

Helicopters hang over my house,

most nights,

sweet symphony of sirens,

the violin solo of violence.

Somebody will awake to bad news.

A boy was stabbed last night.

The neighbours are all whispering,

about how the streets don’t feel safe,

the value of their houses,

even less so.

A boy was stabbed last night,

but it wasn’t their boy,

so they talk of house prices,

vandalism at the park.

He was alone,

but they never wonder why.

He must have been a bad kid,

not like their kids,

some kids are born bad kids,

raised by the streets kids,

a bit too rough kids,

must have come from London kids,

not allowed to play with their kids.

A boy was stabbed last night.

tonight,

the helicopters hover again,

the symphony begins,

a mother wails a haunting solo,

from her front door.

The curtain twitchers have front row seats.

Posted in Blog, Creative Writing, Writing

Car Parks

There was red and blue,

in the air,

sirens singing,

as I stared up at you,

like you were an old friend,

an old memory,

a stabilising slap to the face,

among the chaotic commuters,

questioning officers,

about how they should get home,

and what they should do.

I had been worrying

about a press release,

getting to the cinema on time,

paying the council tax,

but then,

there you were,

staring down at me,

caught on the edge of the worst of life.

gravesend-car-park.jpg
Caught at the edge of today,

crawling across the concrete of the car park,

your weary arms are waiting,

done with holding you up,

for all the world to see,

saying

I still want to stay”

I watch them cling to the concrete,

whispering

But I don’t know if I can”

and I wish,

so hard,

that I could change your mind,

even though I don’t know you like that,

or, at all,

actually.

Car_park_in_Gravesend_(34164270003).jpg
I saw you live,

though,

led back from the edge of goodbye,

into the horizon,

towards help and hope,

as I,

and all the chaotic commuters cleared the road,

going back to little problems,

like press releases,

cinema dates,

council tax,

so we didn’t have to think of giant concrete car parks,

and their habit of stealing people,

to take them to the sky.



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