Arron only just started his blog in October and I'm looking forward to reading many more poems of his.
A Life Less Illustrious
I used to look at you,
Rushing by with “too much to do in too little time”-
What an envious life they lived.
You’d listen to their cursing,
Wishing you could trade your ripped cords,
Your vomit-specked sleeping bag,
Your damp trainers,
Your heroin addiction
For their pin stripes,
Their Italian leather,
Their smooth chins,
And their deadlines.
You’d thank them for their ignorance,
Wishing them well for the day.
Some would apologise, “Sorry mate, only notes”,
Then walk away from your plight
To the tune of £2.10 in their trousers.
Wasn’t always so bad:
Occasionally, you’d get tossed a copper
From a busy banker on a call to Hong Kong,
Without a look like a sardine to a seal
Whose novelty had worn off at the zoo.
It probably did more for them than you:
Their good deed of the day
And conceited ego-stroke
In the bag before elevenses.
I’d bring you a bacon butty
And a cup of tea, determined
To feed only you and not your habit.
You were grateful. I was moved.
So I’d lean against your living room,
Noting that you’d never request my shoes off,
And listen to your stories,
So wonderfully told given the circumstances.
A gifted illustrator-
I still have the witty strip about you
Giving change to the bankers following the Crunch-
How we laughed.
Nearly a professional cricketer too,
Before a snapped cruciate put paid to that.
You had revealed your knee-
Wrapped in a discarded tea towel to stop
The cold adding insult to injury.
Other times, we simply talked about me.
I didn’t want to complain too much,
Or talk at length about my date next Friday,
Afraid it may offend you.
You insisted it wouldn’t and encouraged me:
Perhaps you felt able to live a slice of life
Through my trite tribulations.
Or maybe you were simply happy for me.
That had continued for a good two years,
When one morning I didn’t see you.
The suits didn’t notice the vacancy in the doorway
But I did. I fed your breakfast to the pigeons that day.
I often wonder where you went.
Did you get saved and housed and move into
Illustrating whilst listening to the Test matches
On the battery radio I gave you?
Or did you trade hope for a bottle,
And with a needle in a collapsed vein,
Follow the empties into the river?
I hope it was the former,
That I’ll see your distinctive style on the Politics page,
That I’ll pass you in the street and won’t recognise your smooth chin.
Until then, I don’t walk the Thames way to work anymore.
© Arron Palmer
I have written poetry ever since I could hold a pen, but have begun to get my teeth into it seriously only ever so recently, with my poetry blog A. Palmer Poetry only a couple of months old. I read and write daily, and carry a notebook around with me. I am a walking cliche. I write best and most prolifically just as I fall asleep, and can't sleep until I have written it down. I guess you could say my method for writing is tiring...
As for the poem in the spotlight, quite literally, well it is for those who sadly don't get much sleep either. Not because they are gripped by an inconvenient artistic rush, but by the fear of constant dangers lurking in the dank city nights. I was moved by an article in a pamphlet for homeless charity CRASH, and wrote this little story very spontaneously and without much editing. I realised I felt strongly about this issue, so the ideas, feelings of both guilt and empathy and the film-like relationship rolled very quickly off the ballpoint. I hope to do more for the homeless, much more than put the topic to paper and screen, but actually help out volunteering.
But for now, I am completely honoured and extremely grateful to be given the chance to raise awareness amongst a wealth of such great talent here at One Stop Poetry."