‘Living’ on the gum-stained streets
Invisible to passing crowds
A lone, malnourished, child-woman sleeps
Why is this injustice allowed?

Eyes rolled back in her head
A jaundiced pallor presides on her cheeks
The grim reaper is surely close by
Lying in wait for this girl is so weak

Striding by in their hoards
Commuters, oblivious, it seems
To the plight of the smacked-out girl
Having hallucinogenic dreams

Her filthy, rain sodden mattress
Is inadequate to say the least
Though sickened to my very stomach
I walk on like the rest of the sheep

This image ingrained in my brain
Incessantly preys on my mind
Going home I check she’s ‘ok’
That’s a laugh, she’s so clearly not fine

I worry for her every night
That she’ll expire before the morning dew
So intoxicated at times it’s a fright
But what can I alone possibly do?

This wretch is the tip of the iceberg
Many more bed down there all the time
Makeshift homes under the railway bridge
Amongst the pigeons and rats and the grime

They furnish their plots with cuddly toys
Trinkets that belong in a house
Their food stowed beside them,
Carefully placed
So as not to be stolen by a mouse

Some mornings some sport a fresh wound
A black eye, swollen ankle and the like
Sitting ducks to be targeted by youths
Tanked up, in the mood for a fight

“Not my problem! I’m alright Jack!
Certainly in anger should we not look back!”

But surely it is yet we turn a blind eye?
So another one succumbs, is consumed and then dies

“It’s not alright, Jack! It’s a f**king disgrace!
In so rich a society to be so desperately displaced!”

So many of us live on the edge
A pay cheque or two away:

“Get a grip, deal with it, Jack!
Even now it’s already too late”.