Ben – a poem about homelessness

I often bump into a young, homeless man on the streets of Scunthorpe, where I live. He has inspired me to write this prose poem.

Ben, who they kick

Sometimes I see you there, in your muck-stained, stinking cocoon, slashed with the silver-slit blades of wicked men. Glinting knives, cowards, sharks eating goldfish, despicable. “He’ll scrub up well”, my nanna would say, but you don’t have a sink and maybe it’s best if the mirror, mirror on the wall was not mocking you, for then the trajectory of the fall would be the depths you’d fallen.

You had a tent, once, in a field, a 100 percent yield on your bed on the cold, grey, slab. My sleeping beauty. Wanted a bite of the Big Apple and ended in Scunthorpe. If the council doesn’t move soon, doesn’t smooth this wrinkle in our ability to love our own. Stop this ‘them and us’. This ‘dead doesn’t matter to us.’ This ‘filth is nothing to us.’

You smiled once, and the sky turned cerulean, I swear. Broken teeth, yellow and golden brown like the heroin which pulls you out of now, into a never. Your eyes were once peridots and now they are black tourmalines reflecting the expanses of a world which, for you, has no walls. How insecure you must feel, how unwrapped like a gift discarded by an ungrateful child.

I wish I could create a new reality for you, Ben. One where you were not the shit at the end of someone’s shoe. Where food fills your stomach not by a passer-by’s “Are you hungry?”, but by mustering up a mean spag bol in your own little gaff. I cannot imagine being the breath in your lungs, all I can offer is a warm voice and a genuine hope that you will make it through the night.

© Sarah Drury 2022

Marbles

Glass spheres, all colours, wrapped 
within our dirty-nailed fingers,
50p a bag if mum is feeling generous. 

The chill on hand is biting frost, Arctic,
smooth as an infant’s tongue suckling on
its mother’s milky breast. 

We crouch, striking, poised, 
lured by potential in the weathered, grey,
metal drainscapes, bumpy and foot-scuffed.

With dirt on our curled fists, we send 
the marbles hurtling into holes, 
sliding into victory, these treasured balls

taking hits from bravado and
not wanting the shame of being the loser,
nursing the loose cannon.

© 2021 Sarah Drury

New poetry book out! Glimpses

Glimpses – my new poetry book

I am pleased to announce that my new poetry book, Glimpses, is available to buy on Amazon, as from today,

Glimpses is much different from my previous work. It is more sensitive and personal, and comes from the depths of my heart and soul.

It covers things like motherhood and autism, love, relationships and life in general.

You can purchase it here:

mybook.to/sarahdruryglimpses/

Your support would be gratefully appreciated.

Abstract Dad

I wrote this poem and drew this portrait as a tribute to my dad, who died when I was 7 years old.

It’s a long time,
Fifty-one years minus 7,
For ‘dad’ to be
An abstract concept.
The one photo
Pretends, from a frame,
That we remember each other,
And it feels unnerving,
Gazes meeting in
Cognition of
Memories never
Made.

I have modelled
My own men;
Collaged works
Of art from
Movies and books,
Myths and magic.
Perfect.
And each one bears
A heart shaped
Like you,
Dad.

Old

You were 83,
And immediately I
Asked you about the war,
As if you were
An historical relic.
And I had visions of
Women painting
Stocking seams on legs,
And cans of Spam,
And dating an
American man.
But you were only
A kid.

You said you were lonely,
And you only
Came out to be
Amongst people,
And I realised
You were a church
Without a steeple,
As you pray
For souls,
For your empty days
To be made whole,
By the passers by,
And bus stop dwellers,
And anyone who
Has a pulse.

To be thanked for
Loosening my tongue,
And sitting a while
In a dual of ‘am’
And ‘was’ and ‘maybe one day’,
Sort of makes you
Feel bad;
This old lady, sad,
And happy,
Ricocheting fragments
Of a lonely life
Onto a mirror of
Empathy.
Beaming for the camera
That captures
Brave smiles,
And then putting away
Her lips,
As she doesn’t need them
When she gets home
To herself.

©️ Sarah Drury 2021