Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
Street drunks

Street drunks (photo: Stuart Griffiths).

V (after Tony Harrison)

A dialogue between local voices and street drinkers both fictional and a poet (real) by John Knowles.

Yes I’m white and now I’m middle class

Though born working class it’s true

Some would say I have a poker up my ass

Well, my friend what’s that to you

I’ve paid my taxes, voted an’all

I’ve had it with the words you select

I have a right to make the call

Time you showed some respect


Respect you say, what’s that to me

Why should I give a fuck

I know just what you think you see

A piss head down on his luck

No I won’t go away and die

I wasn’t fucking born like this

I’ve nothing left and that’s no lie

Not even a pot for piss


What’s that to me, don’t make me cry

I fought for the likes of you

Watched too many brave men die

So you can have another few

See these hands, do you see them

Well they’ve killed so you could be free

They’ve held a babe in em

And I’m damned if I let things be


Come on you fucking c**ts come on

You want to see whose life’s been shitter

I could have been someone

You want to know why I’m bitter

They shoved me on a fucking bus

And sent me to the sea

They said don’t make a fuss

No judge, no jury no f-ing plea


Well now you’re here, so do us a favour

We don’t want you begging and hanging about

We don’t want to see you, you’re no raver

Keep schtum and think before you shout

We’ve started a petition to get you off our street

We’ve said enough is enough mate

So take heed your time here’s complete

You don’t need to be a clairvoyant to see your fate


Move us on, go on, why not, if you can

Hotel two, too hotel one, we know the score

You better realise it’s no kind of plan

Like putting a carpet over a hole in the floor

You see this petition, I’ll wipe it on my arse

Your fucking society is selfish and cruel

And your values are just a farce

I may be drunk mate, but you’re the fucking fool.


From the poet:


There are no simple answers

No easy solutions, but enough is enough

I know that nobody would choose

To be a street drinker and live life rough

I try not to judge for who am I to judge

But in this square mile, this strip

Its become a constant barrage

Of people shooting from the hip

Of abuse and threats and violent approaches

Of needles and dog shit and dirt and roaches

Of pissed stained walls were you can’t smell the sea

Of people begging and wanting things for free


There are no simple answers

No easy solutions it’s true

But turning a blind eye

Bowing my head

Turning aside



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Posted 21:57 Wednesday, May 22, 2013 In: Poetry

Also in: Poetry

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