Poems From a Runaway - Free Drinks on Haymarket

(A true story from around age 14 living rough in London)

Free Drinks on Haymarket

This time I’d ran off in my tracksuit top, with a Walsall FC badge on it,
I’d walked past the big sports cafĂ©, down on Haymarket.
I’ve had a good day hustling and begging, and I’ll go in there I think,
To check out what this place is like, and get myself a drink.

Screens everywhere and racing car tables, this place was cool I had thought,
And at the end of the room I soon got surprised, that inside was a basketball court.
I dropped down my bag and in there I went, and took a few shots at the net,
Then wandered around and walked up the next floor, because I’m sure that there’s more to see yet.

I went to the bar and then sat on a seat, and brought myself one pint of beer,
I’m glancing around then the barman asks me, “So what’s it that brings you in here?”
I look down at my tracksuit top and then I go straight on to say,
“I play football for Walsall FC reserves, and it’s Millwall that we play today.”

It had been the first thought that I’d had, which was the main reason I lied,
Always needed a story to keep a good cover, with depth and sometimes hard I tried.
“You from Australia?” I said to him, “New Zealand” he then said back to me,
And after I’d sat and brought a few whisky’s, he told me the next ones were free.

“Just give me ten pence or something like that, for the camera that’s there on the wall.
Cuz if they see you give money and see me give back change, there’s nothing they can do at all.”
Another hour or so and plenty of drinks and I now am feeling the whisky,
I say thanks and goodbye and then make my way out, and then walk along Haymarket tipsy.

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

To view all public 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.
You can read the first fourteen poems written for this project at the following link.


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