I hit the city streets,
a fistful of shrapnel
tucked inside the pocket
of a second hand jacket.
Today the rain feels colder, heavier;
and as the slate sky starts to pour
flushing hope down the drain
I stop to sign on the dole, again.
Inside officers guard the office
in case poverty frustrations boil over;
a thinning man in cheap red jumper
sits trying to hide the tears he dries,
as if the rug of self-esteem
was pulled beneath him, when
a man the same age as his son
ended his career with a faked smile
and an attempt at empathy.
Fortnightly homilies cease, so I leave.
Down the road, outside the law courts
jobseekers in their newest hoodies
and Primark slacks blow smoke
into the air like chimney stacks,
but no one notices the irony.
I want to shout it out to fat cat city
planners, sat in their ivory towers
sipping at cups of instant coffee,
but it’s old news and no one’s listening.
I sit in café window seat and watch
single mums, shoppers and office workers
rush past trying to buy back a smile.
I want to tell them happiness is free
if you know where to look,
but if pushed I couldn’t point the way,
the map lost in the modern day divorce.
This makes me think of you,
but I kill those memories
because these streets are no place
to build emotional sandcastles,
because no one would care
if they kicked them over.
Benefit Street TV program person in drugs raid
Paul's social media sites are: http://paulcromptonpoetry.blogspot.co.uk/ and @cromps