A Day in the Town

by May 19, 2019Home, Poems2 comments

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

2 Comments

  1. Rich

    There’s a song here Steve, just add the chords. Poignant as ever.

    Reply
  2. DW

    Enjoy our writing Steve. Thanks.
    Can feel a Bob Dylan influence in the background of that piece.

    Reply

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