A poem from a runaway - Curious strangers

Curious strangers 

I sometimes wonder if they really knew,
I guess I will just never know.
Some people would come with some kind-hearted questions,
My answers were sort of a show.

Id say I was eighteen and I was out here,
Because Id been kicked out and alone,
And sometimes Id still wonder if theyd really thought,
Id ran off from care or from home.

Its not often like this but once in a while,
Youll find curious people out there.
Who wanted to know why I lived on the streets,
Its a good thing to know that they care.

Where are you parents? And your other family?
Every time those folk would ask.
But in fear of being caught or grassed up to the law,
I could not give them the true facts.

Whats it like to sleep here? And how can you feel safe?
And at the night time here dont you get cold?
At the side of the road, out here on your own,
You dont even look very old.

Some would be sober and some would be merry,
But most of them just wanted to hear,
What it was like sleeping rough in West end,
And was I on the crack or the gear.

Id tell them half-truths but wed still somehow connect,
Im just trying my best here to survive.
Theyd ask why I couldnt go back home to live,
But to stay undetected I lied.

I told them the truths when they asked of the dangers,
Like the drunk folk that will try to start fights.
But after a while you get a thick skin,
And you just have to stand up for your rights.

I tried to avoid having to lie too much,
And I just tried to simply be.
The last thing I wanted was to tug on their sorrows,
So Id say I was happy and free.

Funny I guess my life in West end,
And some of the people Id meet.
There was once a woman whod come every few days,
And play scrabble with me on the street.

Id met Uri Geller, he seemed a nice fella,
Although Id not told him that Id ran away.
He said hed charged up a card with his positive vibes,
Which would help bring some luck to my day.

The boxer Chris Eubank would come whizzing past me,
On a small silver scooter so fast.
And so many faces that Id seen on the telly,
Would once in a while walk past.

Ill take each day just how it comes,
But it wasnt all lonely and dark.
Id always still loved to play with a football,
And across the road was Green Park.

Big groups of lads would kick a ball,
All nations would come together.
And Id always find myself something to do,
No matter what sort of weather.

Some folk would take me out for dinner,
Id sleep on someones office floor.
Some would simply drop me breakfast,
And the next day bring me some more.

Always this life had brought me some bright sparks,
And only now can I think this way.
If it wasnt for those that had poked in their nose,
I wouldnt be who I am today.

And if I hadnt broken some boundaries myself,
Then things could have seemed so much worse.
Youre not on your own when good people connect,
Like a gift from this great universe.

Poetry written by Ben Westwood, Musician and poet. UK
Copyright Ben Westwood. 

To view all fourteen current poems from this project click here.

Follow the true story of a young teenager running away from home and the state, in a premature search for independence. In poetry.

Making choices that often only a young mind would make, Ben tells his
 story and memories of being in the social services system from eleven years old, as well as 1990s London street life, as a missing runaway sleeping rough.

From angels, predators, shocking times to heart-warming moments, Musician and now debut author Ben Westwood gives an insight into the mind of a rebellious-spirited youngster trying to find his own way in the world.

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