A poem with no name


The people come with their stories front and centre

They wear them like shields, like badges of honour

This is why you find me in this state!

This horror, this lack of care, this tragedy

Has brought me here. Oh, I could tell a tale or two!’


And so I sit, and roll up fags for us, and listen

Sitting on the pavement, on damp walls, or on the ground

We smoke and I listen and the terrible tales pour out

Until they have been heard and felt, until

The shields are lowered, the armour loosened


And then the people let me glimpse amazing lives

Of courage and adventure, and the honesty or

The grit that means they can’t become

A cog in the machine; a spirit shines through to me

A will that keeps them striving through adversity


How many weary miles they’ve travelled, battling demons, sore of heart!

The revolutions fought, the stallions tamed, the families left behind

The starry nights with drink and fire and good companions

The mountains of bureaucracy they’ve scaled

And wild capricious seas of prejudice and kindness, life and death


Pushed the to edges, the margins, these people

They have the best, most unexpected stories

And I feel privileged and also strengthened

Because I too, am an outsider, a piece of grit

And my mechanism don’t always run smooth


And when I sit, and roll up fags, and listen

That’s when I feel that I fit into something

We don’t run smooth, but we run side-by-side

That’s where I become my best self – sat in the margins

Hearing epic tales from heroes much braver than me