Poems From a Runaway - East End Adventures

East end adventures

I walk the streets of East London, with my new found friend,
From Bethnal Green to Limehouse, Aldgate to Mile End.
From Bow Road to the Isle of Dogs, Shadwell to Stepney Green,
I know that still that back at home, theyve no clue where Ive been.

All my money had ran out, and gone by the fourth day,
Even though, Id got back that twenty, Joanne promised to pay.
At first we would be staying, at one of Joannes pals,
But often be back at Brick Lane, meeting the street gals.

Wed often be in Whitechapel, and Joanne would always say,
Ill meet you back here in two hours, just hang around here and stay.
So Id be hanging by the tube station, with the drunks on the street,
And Ozzie he was African, had no shoes on his feet.

Couldnt understand a word he said, he chewed on Khat all day,
Id kick an empty metal can, and theyd join in and play.
Sometimes people would walk past, and give a little smile,
They hadnt seen something like this, on this street for a while.

Wed often visit Joannes friend, in the hospital ward,
I think he liked us both being there, it helped him stop being bored.
His name was Drew, a Scottish man and hed been beat up bad,
And all his leg was in a cast, but Drew never seemed sad.

Id tell folk outside the tube station, that I needed to get home,
Asked for money for a ticket, or to use the phone.
Id often make around a tenner, or sometimes Id make more,
And now Ive made more money, than I ever have before.

An old drinker had been watching me, sat on a crate down on the ground,
He winked at me when he had seen, that Id hustled up five pound.
Nice drop, kid he said, You did that good, could I please bother you about summut?
I promise you kid that I will pay you back, could you please just lend me a nugget?

Whats a nugget? I then reply, A quid, a pound he then said,
I just need a tin to settle my nerves, and help me get back a straight head.
I promise you lad, Im a good man, and I keep to my word all the time,
So I then gave him, a one pound coin, and said alright mate its fine.

Come over here, Ill show you some things said the old Irish drinker to me,
Ill soon give you back, that pound that Id lent, sit on this crate and youll see.
Dont say a word when I speak to the people, but if they give us some money say thanks,
Cuz if your polite, even if you feel shite, they could come back and theres always a chance.

Even if they ignore you, youve got to stay strong, just say to them have a nice day,
Dont be like those that just cuss and swear, you cant let your feelings get in the way.
So we sat on the crate and some people approached, How are you sir? the drinker then asked,
The guy on the street replied Alright, Im sweet, how are you? as he walked passed.

It could always be worse the old drinker replied, You dont have any spare change at all please do you?
And then the man went to give him a pound, then changed his mind and gave us two.
Oh thank you so much, thats so kind of you sir, I hope that you have a nice day,
And then he would tell me, to make a point, of thanking them as they walked away.

Always be nice he then said to me, and youll get regulars come all the time
And heres that nugget that I promised you back, see I stuck to those words of mine.
Thanks mate I replied, and then soon later, Id met Joanne as she walked by,
I did not know myself that I had learned, a new skill that I was to later try.

Id been missing a month by this point until now, and Joanne said that I had to call home,
Just to tell them Im safe so we went to the station, and walked inside to use the phone.
She pressed one-four-one to withhold the number, then I dialled it in on the keys,
I let Joanne speak first, because I could not, feel I could speak to them with ease.

They asked where I was but I wouldnt say, I thought that then Id be a fool,

So instead of them looking in London for me, I said I was in Liverpool.

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.

You can read the first fourteen poems written for this project at the following link.

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