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  • HOMELESS 20146

    He had no name
    Let’s call him Homeless 20146
    He was once called something
    But it was long ago
    There’s a rumour he had a sister and a brother
    But they’re missing from our records
    So let’s call them nameless
    People lose touch
    It happens a lot these days
    Families can kill you
    In so many ways
    He was just another victim
    Of our coldest winter on record
    We keep a note of these things    On our records
    Important data for something
    He seems to have otherwise
    Been in good health
    So the cause of death seems to be
    The lack of a blanket
    A pair of gloves
    A hot cup of coffee
    A friend
    Which of these should I note
    On our records?
    Our fucking records
    Our arse covering records
    That no one ever looks at
    No one ever learns from
    And you who sit in your homes
    By your warm fire
    Sipping your hot chocolate
    And laughing at TV shows
    About idiots
    That aren’t really funny
    But make you feel smart
    And superior
    And it takes your mind off
    Feeling ashamed that you don’t care
    No, you don’t even think
    About those with no names
    And no faces
    The ones you don’t make eye contact with
    In case you may feel something
    And that feeling could spread like a cancer
    And spoil a perfect day
    From your perfect life
    So you mutter under your breath
    “Get a job”
    To justify your ill feeling
    It saves you asking their name
    Or finding out their story
    And what bad luck led them to bad things
    That led them here
    You hate them for making you feel guilty
    And wish the police would move them along
    But where to?
    Just out of the way
    Of us good people
    Who have somewhere to go
    And a schedule
    And a plan
    And mummy and daddy
    With a safety net
    Lest you stumble
    Well, there’s some good news
    There’s one more
    Deplorable gone
    But you won’t remember him
    Because you never looked at his face
    And the deep etched lines
    That were a road map of where he’d been                                       What he’d survived
    And how far he had fallen
    From the life his parents had hoped for
    And those haunted eyes of his
    That expected nothing
    And saw that the world was naked
    Perhaps he was Jesus on the make
    And you missed him
    You are safe now
    The nameless man on the corner Of Lonsdale and King
    Has ended his journey
    Tonight he sleeps warm
    And safe
    In a place where names are not important
    Or the cut of your clothes
    Or how many figures you make a year
    It’s a shame you never got to know Him
    He knew things                       Perhaps you were scared of what he knew?
    And his story may have made you weep
    It was in fact he who could’ve given something to you
    But you were in such a rush
    Going nowhere

    (C) Frank Howson 2018