Sunday, 19 April 2015

Poem 18: All Out of Everything


"All Out of Everything"
This is the phrase
that jumped off the page.
A sixty year old homeless man
proud yet exhausted from being strong
for so long, struck out by
the curve ball we call
Nausea is his morning alarm
waking to physical sickness
every day is punishing enough without
making a journey coast to coast
to a part of America
with more heart that most.
His words, more gasped than spoken
sketch his brokenness
in burnt charcoal,
all the colour in his soul
long since expired
These days he's not whole
but fractured and so worn and tired
death and vultures start to haggle.
Until he was seen
not as an addict, a drunk, a thief or felon,
not a problem, a statistic or a threat,
but human.
He's taken in, given a shower, clean clothes
medical treatment and shelter
but most of all
It grieves him to take these things
having made his own way for so long
but has no choice, being
"All out of everything".
I am moved by this story,
compare it to the playground taunts
that Labour, Lib Dems and Tories
are throwing at each other
ramming spin and sound bites down our throats
to win our votes.
The lack of humanity
muffles and deadens every thing,
each word and policy is like a toddler
beating drums with broken skins.
Words will not be enough
We need action,
a faction of leaders
more interested in people than power because
I see a society ever more polarized
And those at the top are so far away
They don’t realise,
I have delivered Food Bank parcels and behind
every one there wasn't a scrounger or cheat,
there was a victim
cruel twists of fate,
redundancy, chronic illness.
And it's funny
but those with money get bailed out,
not even a shout when tax is avoided,
big banks and companies' honour
voided by selling scandals
and yet there's no handle
on bringing them into line,
but now it's time.
So show me a heart behind your tailored suit
if you want to recruit my vote,
turn the dogs on the big bosses
not the little guy with the foot on his throat.
If you want our crosses against your name
things can’t stay the same,
find a different song to sing
before everyone starts to feel
like we’re all out of everything.

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