A Day in the Town
There’s a ghost selling memories down by the shore
as a jury decides its fate
there’s a man of religion knocking at my door
I need to lie down, he can wait.
There’s a hustler on Easy Street shaking up the town
and a night Nurse finishing her shift
An expert is saying the times will bring us down
as an old man in rags thumbs a lift.
There are men who can’t smile protecting the elect
their commission is simple and clear
to repel any threat and to guide and protect
all the things to which we hold dear.
A black fella stares down the barrel of a gun
a bus driver flicks his cigarette
no one is sure where the bullet came from
at least we are told just not yet.
A young street offender is locked away in a cell
He’s turning fifteen today
There’s no one to talk to, no one he can tell
or ask for how long he’ll stay.
There’s a young woman bashed to within an inch of her life
being sprayed with the words of disdain
She has nowhere to run from the tongue and the knife
except into the wind and the rain.
There’s an old woman given to stealing to eat
and her children who can’t really see
There’s a gentleman of means who gives up his seat
and reminds us that nothing is free.
We have to take action, there’s no time remaining
shout the people building the signs
you go ahead, I am abstaining
say the authorities who practice their lines
There’s a man coming out from behind the shades
as a band it strikes up a tune
he’s carrying his backpack full of hand grenades
walking in the hot afternoon.
There’s a man counting zeroes on his stocks and his shares
While a boy shines a torch in his eye
He throws him a dollar and shouts from the stairs
all the truth in the world is a lie.
A smile slowly grows on a grandmother’s chin
as her breakfast is replaced by her pills
She recalls how she’s coped with the times that have been
with a promise to conquer her ills.
There are people in cars wanting more to be done
on their highway of talk back and rage
a convoy, a meeting, a movement for some
for others birds in a cage.
There’s an old man who is younger now leaning on a pole
his broken teeth they need fixing
He was going so well till he fell in a hole
for reasons we all find perplexing
There’s a senator talking her way through the mist
her constituents are stopping to think
a preacher’s saying the righteous must surely resist
while I search for a quiet place to drink.
There’s a child staring out from her window at night
wishing for a dress she can wear
Her bed is too small and her shoes are too tight
but her hopes are filling the air.
There’s another young girl getting lost in her books
as her mother fights to get clean
she kneels in the corner with her smile as she looks
for a father who she’s never seen.
In a gentleman’s garden he looks at some plans
he wants to grow some trees
he feels a numbness in his head and his hands
as it brings him to his knees.
There’s a woman with a mirror but she can’t comb her hair
There’s a man with a scar that won’t heal
She looks away and into his stare
as she searches for something to feel.
There’s a soliloquy for abandoned love down along the Quay
and some women enjoying the sun
A Shaman extends his hands for a fee
while the captains of industry run.
There’s a placard in the square telling us about the light
while the soup kitchen hands out some bread
to a man with the knuckles that know how to fight
beside a woman who kisses his head.
There’s a boy of twelve who’d like to play
his callipers mean he can watch
his mother must go but he’ll sit there all day
to satisfy his itch.
There’s a ten year old girl reaching hard for her breath
as she runs a lap of the park
her Father watches, till she has nothing more left
they’ll stay there until it gets dark.
There’s a whip-snapping kid shining her own light
and the teacher who doesn’t mince words
the Alice of the classroom is itching for a fight
and the others, they draw their own worlds.
There’s a girl on a bus in need of a seat
as her mother brushes her hair
Two kids with skateboards get to their feet
to lay their society bare
A blonde passes out with her needle in a ditch
A suit drops a grand at the track
The Transport Department, the temporary glitch
The suit’s not worried, he’ll win it back.
There’s a microphone shouting there’s too much crime
while a baby cries in the street
The legislators say they need more time
while the diplomats carve up the meat
There is ringing of bells and a man in a coat
who wanders the streets on his own
Where teardrops fall from the letter he wrote
to his brother of flesh, blood and bone
There are sailors in town on shore leave of sorts
as consultants work on their brief
An abandoned mother is before the courts
as her child hangs his head in his grief
There are protesting students not being schooled
they’re being told to conform
they’re taking no notice, they refuse to be fooled
as the rain gathers into a storm
There’s a busker singing the ‘Statesboro’ Blues’
the harmonica peels paint from the walls
The gentlemen of style buy Italian shoes
as the powerful draw up the laws
There’s a mute, there’s a drunk, there’s a spirit in the air
there’s a foreigner clearing the mess
There’s a wandering minstrel laying it all bare
about something he needs to confess.
These are glorious days shouts the minister’s voice
your dreams are going to come true
There’s the single mother who has no choice
pleading with a bill overdue
Down along the Cove there’s a boat pulling out
it’s stocked well for the day and the night
There’s a punter who thinks his bet is in with a shout
while the doctor turns out the light.
There’s an old woman rummaging she’s looking for food
from the bins at the back of the store
she could ask for a blanket to do her some good
before she goes to sleep on the floor.
There’s sin in the boardroom there are deals in the hall
there’s a stain on the image perverted
The managers claim they knew nothing at all
so any and all blame is diverted.
There are holes being dug, there are pits for the waste
There are workers bearing the load
The renovated land and the after-taste
lays sweltering by the side of the road.
There’s a raid at the factory and phones out of order
the editors are scratching their heads
There’s commotion contained, at the border
while we’re all asleep in our beds
There’s a feeling making me sick to my guts
a brown family is turned around
their last night together is a night in the ruts
after they escaped being drowned.
The wind makes its speeches and tells us never to hide
for we all have a voice in the end
except those who don’t and are shuffled aside
left to patch up their wounds and to mend.
There’s a young man who is old, he’s worn out from trying
he can no longer pay his rent
he’s rejected again, no use in applying
Please, spare me some change Sir, I’m spent.
There’s a hint of rebellion, there’s word on the street
that the unfortunate few have a chance
the mighty they gather and the mighty they meet
to quell such a thought, and to dance.
The land is so young and the land is so free
as I stand to my stolid attention
the words that are sung with a smug tuneless glee
lay siege to future retention.
While all this is happening I’m asleep in my bed
my brain is trying to rest
if I didn’t know better I’d be sick or be dead
and wondering what to say next.
© copyright – Stephen Newman 2019