5 a.m.

I live on a council estate where there is a lot of poverty. I love it here and the people inspire me to write social commentary poetry. Here’s a poem I wrote about my street.

5 a.m.
The street is peaceful,
Dreaming of
Collecting their benefits
Buying a six pack of Carling
Having a flutter on the horses
And buying that winning ticket
For Saturday night’s Bonus Ball.
Drug dealers
Have finished their night shift,
Peddling a death sentence
To the addicted and those
Pleading not guilty
To the fact that
The smack will bring about
A premature demise.
The steelworks turn the dirty air
Into toxic poison
Orange plumes of acrid steam
Billowing into air
Putrid with the stench
Of poverty
Seeping into the lungs
Of a tired people
Already cancer-ridden
With the
Tumors of hopeless resignation.
Soon the hungry children will arise
From their comfortless beds
Like another soulless brick
In a Pink Floyd Wall
Throwing themselves
Into crumpled school clothes
Grey shrunken school shirts
Once as white as the
Paper on which they
Ink their reluctant prose
And denying all knowledge of
The smooth glide
Of a Russell Hobbs iron.
Stressed by the news
That the DWP has sanctioned
Their Universal Credit
And the scattered fathers
Of their offspring
Have refused to pay
Yet again
For their screaming,
matted haired child.
Contemplating a trip to town
To sell their gold
To the pawn sharks
sell their body to the punters
sell their soul to
the crack pipe
or powder white coke.
For life is like that
On my little patch of Google Maps
The satellite can’t see
The no entry signs
For hope and benevolence
And street view
Doesn’t show
The bare footed toddlers
Wandering the streets
Feral and alone
The huddled gangs of teens
With nowhere else to go
But the prospect of the dole queue
Or break at the pleasure of Her Majesties
The harangued mothers
In the Primark tracksuits
And knock-off Adidas
Gathering at the bus stop
With their benefit babies.
Bitching about Sandra down the road
With her Bastard kids
The bravado matcho dads
Loitering around scrapped out cars
Cans of Stella in their pudgy hands
Dreaming of the day when
There will stand,
In their driveway,
A golden Lamborghini
Complete with a bikini clad
Sexist dream.
Laviciously judging
Passing by women
With a catcall or a jeer.
But I live on these streets
And I love these streets
And I love these people
Like Lowry loved his matchstick men
The place I call my home.
The place where my heart
Is resting
For a while
Until I am free
To fly to
The city.

© Sarah Drury 2019


Am I a Poet?

Am I a Poet?

Am I a poet?
Do the words that flow in book or on screen
Reflect dramatic emotions that go unseen?
Does my happiness make you smile?
Do you bare your satisfied teeth like a hungry crocodile?
Do my words of suicide hanging in the air like a cloud of despair
Destroy your sanctimonious bliss beyond repair?
Do they have you ringing 999 whilst you panic inconveniently in your chair?

Yeah, I thought so.

Am I a poet?
Are my words like rock salt on a frozen ice rink?
Does my punctation uncontrollably stammer,
is my modest pretense full of glamour?
Do I lift your sorry spirit or make your joyful heart sink?
Just because people smile doesn’t mean they are smiling
and just because they shout the loudest doesn’t mean they can sing.
And the words aren’t always soothing like a triple gin and tonic
They can fucking sting.

But I meant to do that.

Am I a poet?
Do I thrill you? Do I chill you to the arthritic bone?
Do the words paint pictures of terror, images so uncomfortable
That you get off Instagram and shut down your one thousand dollar phone?
Or do you take delight in the fright, in the sight,
In the horror before you, your nightmare Twilight Zone.
You’re a loser, you needed some company, you feel so alone.
You’re a regular sociopath, your friends have all gone.

Do I do that?

Am I a poet?
Do I live with my eyes in the tangerine sky?
With my mind up ahead in a fairytale shed
Do I dwell in the lands of the metaphoric
Reality not living up to the dream as I ask myself why.
As I deal in yarns of happy, happy, happy talky
Where the words paint a picture so far from my life I could cry.
Where I am a crack dealer, but the high is a visible lie
When the words fail to come, then my bullet is up and I tragically die.

A lie, right?

Am I a poet?
Or am I a purveyor of meaningless, nonsense words?
Or a dreamer of attainable dreams, a weaver of worrysome woes
A creator of the highest joys, the lowest, the deadest, the absurd?
Do I bleed enough for you every night on screen?
For my words are my creative, poetic blood.
Each night I slit my wrists again and again
Just for the chance that I might strike gold
That my words might actually be love
That my life might actually
Be inspired from above.

But Am I a Poet?

© Sarah Drury 2019

It was nice, the Saturday Tea

It was nice
The Saturday tea.
Family sitting around the living room
Scraps of greasy newspaper balanced on our knee
Last week’s news saturated in chip fat
This week’s wellbeing, the cholesterol it’s enemy.
Scraps of batter, vinegar, swimming in a sea of mushy pea
A battered sausage promising dancing tastebuds
A haddock resplendent in its crispy, greasy coat
Chips golden like they’d been deep fried by the sun
Cuisine like nirvana, sliding deliciously down my nostalgic throat.

And it was nice
Nice, the Saturday tea
When the adults spoke in voices joyous and
Pretended they were ok with the world
And acted like the miseries of life didn’t start with me
That I wasn’t a pain, a burden, an inconvenience
That if it wasn’t for my being alive they would be free.
The day when people smiled and a glimpse of civility I could see.

As my fingers squelched through greasy pickings
A sensory challenge, but I could bear the feeling
Of the slimy, oily potato, hot and dripping with lard
I basked in the feeling of peace that the rustling newspapers
Might bring messages about my emotional healing.
For Sunday to Monday the grown-ups my sanity were stealing
My little sanguine heart and my quaking mind were reeling
With fear.

But it was nice,
The Saturday tea
When the air was pink with harmony
And the words were smooth with happy vibes
Pulsing through the atmosphere, the chips and fish the smooth over bribes
And the smiles were painted and the laughs were dubbed
And the falsity washed over the truth like the shifting tides.
And the walls were witness to the violence
That on the days when the chips didn’t bear witness to the cruel divides
Of a child distraught.

But it was nice
The Saturday tea
When the fish didn’t swim in the Atlantic Ocean
But sacrificed their lives to decorate our plate
When the sausage paid homage to the pig it once was
When the food on our platter was bloody first rate
When the child and the adult spoke in civilized phrases
When the child wasn’t bullied by an adult irate.
And the child pretended happy because she couldn’t create
Her safe place

But it was nice
The Saturday tea
The smiles, the laughs, the faux safety
The grease, the Tizer, the chips on your knee
The magic of illusion, the wish to be free
Yes it was nice.
It was a haven
The Saturday tea.

© Sarah Drury 2019