Soreness and observations

Soreness and observations


It was a small operation done quickly

Leaving the surgery I walked back

Through a town that looks and feels

As though it’s almost given up on itself

Was it eleven or twelve charity shops?

I counted amongst the Poundlands

Cash generators, betting shops

And discount off loaders of trash food

There’s an intersection of two roads

Where the dealers and drug users meet

Young men walking in that fast agitated way

Shouting to someone they could see

A couple of hundred yards away

They do that on their mobiles too

There is no intimacy in these conversation

And then there are the ball carriers

Men who walk through the streets

With a hand down the front of their trousers

Hanging on to their knob as if to reassure

Themselves that they are still a man

Then they go on to shake each others hands

Passers-by become involuntary participants

A passive invasion of blatant criminality

Then there are the men and women

On the detox programmes stick thin

Yellow skinned walking skeletons

Still looking edgy for the next deal

Today there is a new wave of men

Released from jail to the local hostel

Talking out loud about a stolen credit card

Quick use it three times thirty quid no more

Before the card is shut down by the bank

So they stand at the hole in the wall

Looking furtive looking around

Staring people down in the queue

It’s convenient that there are three cash points

On each corner they walk to each one

With that swinging wide shouldered gait

The swaggering fronting up

The tell-tale sign of a jail inmate

It’s easy to forget too that they

The men and women I observe

The flotsam and jetsam of a wrecker’s yard

Are not the cause of society’s problems

Of the fracture between the wealthy and poor

But the result of the damage that’s been done

By a political cause that proudly pronounced

“There is no such thing as society”

And so many other throw away lines

That made sure we knew our place.

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