Homeless, poetry poem
Poetry

Streetlife

You throw a coin and hurry past as fast as you can.
You don’t look me in the eye – hardly anyone does.
You don’t stop and smile, or pass the time of day.
You don’t ask me my name.
I wonder what we’d talk about if you stopped for a minute.
Would you ask if I have any family?
Well, I do.  

My parents are still alive (or at least they were when I last heard) and I have an older brother and a younger sister.
I miss them every day.
I long to see them.
My chest hurts when I think about them.
So, I don’t!

I wouldn’t want them to see me – not like this.
Would I tell you about my childhood?
It was so happy.
We were all so close.
Nothing traumatic happened, that resulted in me being here.
Ending up like this.

We had a laugh together, we had great holidays, and we played games and made up plays and songs.
I could talk to my mum and dad about anything – and everything.
Well, obviously not everything.
I didn’t tell them the first time I smoked weed, or took Ecstasy, or MDMA.
I didn’t want to worry them.
It was only a bit of fun at parties, you know? Everyone was doing it – no big deal.
It’s funny because if I’d told them maybe they could’ve helped me to stop.

But, I probably wouldn’t have listened.
You don’t when you’re young, do you?
By the time I was doing coke we hardly ever spoke.
I didn’t know what to say by then. I knew I was in trouble.
It was tearing me apart, because I knew I was losing everything I cared about but it had got hold of me by then.
This addiction.

So, I latched onto people who said they were my friends but weren’t.
They simply had no-one left either, so they latched onto me and together we got lost in oblivion.
Our arms marked and bruised. A testimony to how far we’d fallen.
Convincing each other that we had it all under control.

I know that even today, if I returned home,  my family would turn their worlds upside down to help me.
I know the hurt I’ve caused has been the most pain they’ve ever felt.
But, I love them too much to go home.
This was never a choice I deliberately made.
I didn’t chat this through with the career officer at school.

I had hopes and dreams back then.
I was gonna make something of myself.
I was gonna have a job and a house.
Not a habit and a sleeping bag.

I don’t really have any hope left.
I can’t imagine anything beyond today.
I hate the things I’ve done, and had done to me, in order to survive.
This road to oblivion keeps on getting darker and darker.
Those that travel on it lose their way because they can’t see where they are going.
We keep falling flat on our faces.

I watch you walk away and feel grateful that at least you noticed me enough to throw a coin in my direction.
I wonder what you’d think, if I told you my story.
But, I won’t because you don’t ask.
My name is Lucy, by the way.

Enjoyed this poem? Check out Last Word, written by Edward Holmes.

2 Comments

  • Candice H

    I’ve heard a statistic we’re all three paychecks from losing everything. I can’t imagine how demoralising, scary and hard it must be to be homeless. Let’s make an effort to show all people some kindness.

  • Rachael Birch

    Yeah i heard that too years ago and it’s stuck with me. We never know what might happen. Even when we feel “secure” things can change.

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