Poems From a Runaway - West end Adventures

A poem about living rough in West End aged around 13/14/15

West End adventures

Im taking my old usual route,
From Green Park to Leicester Square.
Its been a long day and night-times now here,
And my day on the beg has been fair.

Im thinking of something for me to do,
Ive got sixty pounds now here in cash.
Theres guys standing at the corner of the Trocadero,
Selling the tourists some hash.

Its not the first time that Ive tried to buy weed,
But more often than not Ive been skanked.
But once in a while, I trust a warm smile,
And I see that its good and their thanked.

But others will lead you, walking through Soho,
And lose you so they can buy crack.
And once out of sight, you know that their gone,
And you know that you wont get your cash back.

But there in West End, it wasnt all bad,
No matter how it sometimes seems.
Youd get some good smokes, from South American blokes,
And the hippy entrepreneur Europeans.

And I never really liked to drink very much,
But maybe Ill have whisky today.
And maybe a meal from a train station restaurant,
And in the arcades I might play.

I might buy a camera, a disposable one,
And take some photos for back home.
Or I might even buy myself some new clothes,
Or maybe a mobile phone.

Could get a haircut, its only five pounds,
From the place up on Charing Cross Road,
Or just spend the whole night browsing the web,
In a net café if it rained or it snowed.

I might spend the night, on Yahoo chat,
Being honest I live on the street,
And if Im so tired, that I am wired,
Ill get an hours sleep on the seat.

Arms on the table, heads in my arms,
Im in an uncomfortable heap,
But the guard from the all night internet café,
Says look mate soz you cant sleep.

So I make my way past Trafalgar Square,
And start walking back to Green Park.
But Ill sleep by the road, where I know that Im safe,
Cuz I dont trust the perves in the dark.

They already come to me in the day,
And say Ill give you twenty quid for a blow.
But Ill make sure Im loud and shout fuck off you perve,
Ill do you in if you dont go.

Ill roar like a lion, and make sure theyre runnin,
And chase them until theyre shit scared,
Its because that Im young and they think that Im desperate,
But my pride is not to be spared.

It was good that an angel came and he spoke,
With a strong lasting message to me.
Youve got to stay wise, and look out for the guys,
Wholl offer you some gear for free.

And indeed they came, a handful of times,
And each every time Id say no.
And again I would roar, but I know that Im young,
And half the time it was a show.

Still something in them, knew I was a kid,
And each every time they would go,
Without having a fight and theyd walk out of sight,
Knowing I wasnt so slow.

Theres plenty of real walking tragic life stories,
Walk past me all through the day.
Its a ludicrous business thats open all hours,
But my life aint what I will pay.

Sometimes Id sleep in Leicester Square,
In a big doorway by the main street.
Id try to get sleep, but street cleaners would beep,
So Id just chill or find food to eat.

Id always meet people, that were no questions asked,
About answers I did not want to say.
Those people were friendly, by now Id forgot,
That I even had ran away.

Sometimes I would walk, to Covent Garden,
To beg money and watch the odd show.
I knew Id do well if I sat by the cashpoint,
 Cuz I rinsed it on my first go.

As always I would, be careful to be,
Looking out for the old bill.
And if they were coming, Id soon hide my hat,
Be normal and try to be still.

As long as they dont, hear me begging,
Not often anything they will do,
But my heart always beats, I want luck on my side,
And thank god when theyve gone and passed through.

But if they do stop, to check who I am,
I give the same old story I make.
A false date of birth, and a quick made up name,
And hoping I dont make a mistake.

Ill pull on my trousers, to expose my leg,
And say Id been stabbed in the thigh.
I know that its not, what is on my own record,
So I may as well give it a try.

Sometimes they would ask, if I was a name,
That came up on the police radio,
But I just shrugged my shoulders, and said that I werent him,
And most of the time they would go.

So then Id pack up, in case theyd walk back,
And then Id walk off to some place.
Because I dont know still, if the old bill,
Had once seen a snap of my face.

Im somewhere by Bond Street, still learning these streets,
And Im not sure where this backstreet goes.
But after a while, Ill soon find my way,
To the doorway at Tokyo Joes.

Upon my return, sometimes I would find,
People had left me food to eat.
A bag full of pastries or a large cold hot chocolate,
From the staff in the café up the street.

Its felt a good day, whatever Ive done,
I guess I enjoy that Im free,
Got luck on my side, and not yet found my pride,

But for now this is where I will be.


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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