Reflections #42

In my poem 'A Persian Pal', a talk about meeting an Aranian friend in the west end.

By this point stopping at peoples houses had seemed a sort of luxury-experience for me. I remember how vividly it all felt to be travelling on various buses to get to the outer-parts of London where tube stations and bus-stops were a lot more far apart.

I really hope he's doing well and managed to successfully seek asylum in the UK after being tortured by his government.
I'd got to know him for a while at this point, and despite both of us seeming somewhat a little lost in life whilst hanging around Piccadilly circus, it was nice to have a friend away from the drug scene.

When I got to his house I saw that he'd lived a somewhat simply and humble lifestyle, in fact looking back I think it was a squat.
I won't say his name, just in the case there's any repercussions from it, but I liked him I did, a good spirit he was.

He liked a drink, but seeing him drunk had been somewhat a rarity until my later times around Piccadilly Circus. I just hope he's managed to live a stable and comfortable life, and managed to stay.



Reflections #40

One of my latest poems from the book I've uploaded 'Another day on Piccadilly' talks about my return back to my doorway at the back of Tokyo Joes, which faced the main street of Piccadilly across the road from Green Park.

A somewhat different head-space for me looking back, something I've not thought about until now.
It had become a familiar place, I knew people that I'd see regularly around and I'd also developed a few friendships whilst at the day center in Charing Cross.

I think meeting up with dad again and living around Walsall had sort of rubbed off on me a little.
I'd always had the odd older bully come to try and muscle me away from my pitch every now and again, but I was more confident in being stern with them by this point.
By now I actually enjoyed standing up to the bullies, and couldn't help sort of emotionally exploding when they were trying to muscle me out.
I'm really not a big fan of violence, and the most I only gave them to be honest was a shove, but they certainly didn't come back again.

This wasn't the case however regarding another story, which you'll read about soon.
I'd been in London so often for so long by this point, that despite not having four walls to sleep in, it had somewhat for me turned into 'home'.
Don't ask me what I make of that, but yeah, I think I just liked the culture or something. Much better than Walsall, I didn't have to hear the racism that I'd so often hear around, which had been a lot worse than what I'd witnessed in Rugeley and somewhat surprising for a place with higher populations of Asian and Afro-Caribbean  descendants.

I knew all the tricks to survive by this point, and had also figured out where the local soup runs were on Strand and in other areas.
The fact I was 14/15 had never entered my mind, I guess it doesn't and we all want to be a little older as a kid.
It's not until you're in your twenties and you see people enjoying themselves finally after having some guidance and discipline in their lives that you wish you'd have stuck around when you've had the opportunity.

Do I wish I was at home playing football and doing what kids do? Well yes, but in a way also, no.
And the only reason I say that is because who can blame me, I simply went to the place I had got to know best, and was also accepted.
No wonder it became my favorite place to always go back to, and I can't change any of that.

Part 38 of 60 - The family from Plantation




THE FAMILY FROM PLANTATION

Another morning near Green Park, I hadn’t got to sleep until day.
I opened my eyes, and to my surprise, a kid dropped a food bag by my way.
“I’ve brought you breakfast” the young lad then said in an American voice he had spoken.
“Thanks a lot kid” I then replied, it was a nice way to be awoken.

Come the next day, the young lad came again, this time with his sister too.
Again with some food, in a brown paper bag, and once again I said “thank you.”
“That’s nice of you mate” I then further add, “No worries” he then replied.
They both then made their way, so I picked up the bag, and had taken a quick look inside.


The same as before, a hot chocolate and muffin, that was a nice thing I’d thought.
Someone’s done right, in keeping them bright, you can tell by the way they’ve been taught.
I enjoy my breakfast - the taste of the chocolate, and this muffin seems to go down nice too.
And not too long after, I make my way, through the streets looking for something to do.

By the end of night - or most probably morning - I go back to Tokyo Joes door.
And then later that day, I’d seen the kids again, with their folks that I’d not seen before.
They went and they got me a sandwich and cuppa, from the sandwich shop just up the way.
And after I thanked them, they said that they would probably see me again later that day.


And later I seen them, I met all the family, and they took me back to their hotel.
I didn’t stay long, but the good vibes were strong, and they let me have a shower as well.
I know back then, I was lost in my own world, chaotic as my life was too.
But you never forget, when you meet the good souls that make a great impact on you.

Because most of my days I’m just doing my thing, and watching out for those that see me as prey.
And it’s not all the time that you just know folk are fine, that you find come into your day.
But I’d fibbed with my story, like I’d always done, said I was nineteen years old.
And that I’d been kicked out, from the home of my folks, the same old story that I’d told.

One day the mother had given me some money, to buy myself some new clothes to wear.
And after I brought them, I went straight back, to the hotel to show them back there.
A brief feeling of normal, away from the madness, you’d be surprised how strange it can seem.
When you’ve been so far away, and that sort of day is now a long deep distant dream.


We kept crossing paths, when I was sat by Green Park, they all seemed to just be so freely.
It wasn’t that often, there’d be that kind of connection, with good caring folk around me.
Always nice vibes, they had positive love, beaming from each every one.
And on the last day, the mother had said, to come and see them before they had gone.

I’d just about caught them oddly enough, right before their cab had come.
Outside the hotel, with all their packed bags, and I said goodbye to them all and the mum.
She went on to say that seeing the sights, was something that she’d now forgot.
And that us lot meeting, and them helping me, seemed worth much more than the lot.

Some tears rolled down her face as she spoke, and then soon the taxi pulled up.
They put in their stuff and before they got in, all of them wished me good luck.
I said my goodbyes to all of the family, and watched the cab drive up the road.
And it took many years, to appreciate, the true warmth and kindness they had showed.


It’s what I had needed, with being only human, and having kept running from care.
I’d made myself lonely, living like I was homeless, with not much normal love there.
Many acquaintances for short-lived moments, but not many that I’d call a friend.
There wasn’t much normal, living this life, on the streets of the West End.

I just want to say a really big thanks, to the family that came from Plantation.
I’ll never forget you four in a million, you’re really a true inspiration.
A big ray of light in a world full of weirdness, you loved unconditionally free.
Believe it or not, you’ve etched in a page, within the life memory of me.



You can purchase Poems From a Runaway for under £15 on Amazon
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1981314350

You can also get signed colour higher-quality paperbacks from £25 at
http://benwestwooduk.blogspot.com/p/poems-from-runaway.html

Hardbacks available on written request.
benwestwooduk (at) gmail.com


DO YOU THINK YOU MAY KNOW THIS FAMILY THAT WERE LIVING IN PLANTATION FLORIDA?
CHECK OUT THE FOLLOWING VIDEO.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9rCSGKxyJo


Part 36 of 60 - 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.
I’d say I was eighteen, and I was out here because I’d been kicked out and alone.
And sometimes I’d still wonder, if they’d ever thought, that I’d ran off from care or from home.

It’s not often like this but once in a while, you’ll find curious people out there.
That wanted to know why I lived on the streets, it’s 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 never give them the true facts.


“What’s it like to sleep here? And how can you feel safe? And at the night time here don’t you get cold?
At the side of the road, out here on your own, you don’t 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 on the gear?

I’d tell them half-truths, but we’d still somehow connect, I’m just trying my best to survive.
They’d ask why I couldn’t 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 I’d say I was happy and free.
Funny I guess, my life in the West End, and some of the people I’d meet.
There was once a woman who’d come every few days, and play scrabble with me on the street.


I’d met Uri Geller, he seemed a nice fella, although I’d not told him that I’d ran away.
He said he’d 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 I’d seen on the telly, would once in a while walk past.

I’ll take each day just how it comes, but it wasn’t all lonely and dark.
I’d always still loved, to play with a football, and across the road was Green Park.
Big groups of lads, we would all kick a ball, and all nations would come together,
And I’d always find myself something to do, no matter what sort of weather.

Some kind-hearted folk would take me out for dinner, I’d slept on someone’s office floor.
Some would simply drop me some breakfast, and the next day bring some more.
Always this life had brought me some bright sparks, and only now can I think this way.
If it wasn’t for those that had poked in their nose, I wouldn’t be who I am today.

And if I hadn’t broken some boundaries myself, then things could have seemed so much worse.
You’re not on your own when good people connect,
Like a gift from this great universe.


You can purchase Poems From a Runaway for under £15 on Amazon
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1981314350

You can also get signed colour higher-quality paperbacks from £25 at
http://benwestwooduk.blogspot.com/p/poems-from-runaway.html

Hardbacks available on written request.
benwestwooduk (at) gmail.com

Brussels here we come :) European Parliament with Missing Children Europe

Hello folks, hope everyone's enjoying this lovely weather we've been having in the UK of late.

So yeah, it's been fantastic to have been invited to European Parliament with Missing Children EU. They are an umbrella organisation working with 31 missing children organisations across Europe.

I'm glad that the countless nights spent awake gathering email addresses and sending them has paid off, I'm proper buzzin to have been invited to read some of my book 'Poems From a Runaway' as well as share some of my experiences. I'm a little nervous about it but I'm confident I'll handle it fine and will no doubt try and laugh my way out of any awkward moments by taking the mick out of myself. (Always works for me anyway!)


Massive thanks to Missing Children Eu for inviting me, but also a massive thanks to Vi Wood from Leslie's care packages that has helped pay for my passport when I really needed it.
In fact when I received the email with the invite to Brussels, I wasn't sure if I was going to make it, think I had just over 6 weeks at the time but my passport has arrived and now it's on. (Yeeeah baby)

Finally!

So this will be my first ever trip abroad in the almost 33 years that I've been alive, finally ay.
A massive thanks to Maria, Adam and another friend that said not to mention her but she knows who she is.
OK so I had to basically beg on Facebook by putting shout outs for a little help on there to get it sorted, but I'm glad I did now. I've been extremely lucky as I've found things a little difficult at times.


Why I'm selling Poems From a Runaway PDF's for donations to raise a little money. 

I'll be doing a live video with some music and poetry sometime soon, of which I'll post underneath here when I've done it. (It's getting late and may be tomorrow now I think) I'll be sending PDF copies of Poems From a Runaway to folks email address's in return for donations. Before I sound like a total scrounger, ere me out.

Despite all the promotion, blog posts, sharing my story out, interviews and stuff, sales have been a little on the lowside.
I say a little, quite drastic to be fair. I never thought all this would be so difficult.

I've had mates joke about me buying them drinks now I've released a book, but a total of £95 in amazon sales since December doesn't really buy a lot, and I'd like to fill my belly first please mate.

Friends have been telling me to go back to busking to raise some cash, but it hasn't been working out a lot lately for a variety of reasons, so I thought hey at least if I do an online blog post then hopefully I won't come back to my bedroom and another busker will already be there. And no security will tell me I can't be here, or the street cleaners won't park up and leave their engine on the van whilst cleaning the floor. (this has was literally my life last week lol)

So I thought, read a bit of poetry, maybe play a bit of music and put the links up and perhaps it's a bit like busking, and you don't need a license!

I'll but a link up to my live Facebook video soon. Watch this space :)

For those that do purchase a PDF copy of Poems From a Runaway for a donation between £2-£20, I would like to say a massive massive thank you in helping me fund my first ever 2 day trip abroad :)

Big Love.
The Ben :)


** Full PDF version of Poems From a Runaway will be sent to your paypal address. No other emails or spam from me will be sent, nor will your email be added to any mailing lists.
If you do want to join my mailing list you can do via the righthand sidebar.**



PDF Sale Donation amounts
Email address for PDF


For those that would like a copy of Poems From a Runaway on their bookshelf to read, you can grab one from Amazon at https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1981314350

VIDEO COMING SOON


Reflections #25

Fair play to the bloke from my poem 'Intercontinental', what a really nice thing to do ay.

I do feel bad that as a lost and confused 13 year old kid I ended up using up the minibar and not only that but sold some of the towels and dressing gown to another newspaper seller up the road.
The kind of stuff I wouldn't do these days, seriously.
If he ever reads this, once again, my sincere apologies.

Walking into a plush hotel such as the intercontinental was an odd experience for a 13 year old runaway that hadn't washed for weeks and was carrying a big rucksack.
I remember the guy working on the door there that night, being ever so friendly but only because he was trying to get a tip out of me. Despite what I would presume was someone that obviously didn't look well off, he hadn't noticed.

Just looking back at myself now, and what it must have looked like, me boppin round the Intercontinental hotel on my own.
Crazy lol. But I bet there's more stories like mine out there!






Part 20 of 60 - The coaches from Glasgow




THE COACHES FROM GLASGOW

Walking around Victoria, you’d always meet a Scot,
Who’d been in London for a few days, and the rucksack that he’d got,
Was so big and heavy, but his health did seem alright,
He’d be happy and be chatty, it seemed that he was bright.

We’d hang out a day or two, share our knowledge of the street.
He’d teach me how to steal stuff I’d show him where to eat.
Then after a day or two, we’d go on our way.
But so very often, I’d see them another day.

Perhaps it was a few weeks, a month or maybe two,
I’d see them sat down begging, and I’d say “Hi, how are you?”
But they seemed a different person, and they had no time to speak,
A bag of bones and lost his spark, it seemed that he’d gone weak.

And that is what I think had taught me, that heroin weren’t good,
It sucks your soul right down a hole, not feeling like you should.
I’d tried to say hello again, but they wanted rid of me,
To beg the money to go and score, so often I would see.

And then I wouldn’t really see them, I weren’t sure where they’d go.
Some move around or change their lives, or maybe back to Glasgow.
But I just hope that in time, that some went back to who was here,
Before being a slave and wasting life, just for the crack and gear.



You can purchase Poems From a Runaway for under £15 on Amazon
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1981314350

You can also get signed colour higher-quality paperbacks from £25 at
http://benwestwooduk.blogspot.com/p/poems-from-runaway.html

Hardbacks available on written request.
benwestwooduk (at) gmail.com

Part 14 of 60 - Toby Sycamore





TOBY SYCAMORE

Again I’m in London, and I’m back on the run,
And because I was grassed up before,
I need to stay undetected, so that nobody finds me,
I’m going to have to try more.

No-one can know that my real is Ben, 
and that I’ve ran away from care,
Folk will be asking for me around Whitechapel,
 So it’s best they think I’ve not been there.

So I speak a fake accent, a pretend East End cockney, 
from the moment I wake up, until night.
For the whole next four months, with everyone that I meet, 
just so I know that I’m alright.

Or else they might find me, when Old Bill ask questions, 
someone might say, “I know him”.
So if everyone thinks that I’m from round here,
the chances I’m caught are quite slim.


One day plain-clothes police pulled me outside Victoria station, 
asking people outside for spare change.
They were gonna release me, but decided they couldn’t, 
as I was young and my story seemed strange.

The address that I gave, just didn’t exist, 
which I’d said in my fake cockney voice.
And two-and-half hours later, they still wouldn’t release me, 
I knew I did not have a choice.

“Hands up I’ve been caught, I’m not really from here”,
I said like I spoke when back home.
I thought they’d go mad, but in the end I was glad, that
it all ended in humourful tone.

“You did have us fooled, we thought you were local,
it was just the address that you gave,
Which had made us suspicious, or else we would have
 released you out onto your way.”


Well its more lessons learnt for the next time I guess,
 as I wait to be brought home by escort.
If you need to stop for the bog, they’ll walk you right to the door,
 but the lift home there’s time for some thought.

A few hours later I’m well on my way, 
and I know at least I’ll get a warm bed.
Once I get back to the kids home where I live,
I’ll wash all my clothes and get fed.

But everyone knows that I’ll soon be back, 
via hitchhiking or bunking the train.
And I’ll always choose a different way to get there,
 it’s unwise to pick the same.

From Winnersh Triangle, Watford Gap, Oxford, Milton Keynes,
I’m searching for my independence.
Nothing stops these dreams.

I know that I can make my way, back to find Joanne.
Just go the way they least expect, was usually my plan.
Often I would walk through town, through Pinner, St Johns Wood.
As long as no-one knows I’m Ben, I’ll reckon I’ll be good.


You can purchase Poems From a Runaway for under £15 on Amazon
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1981314350

You can also get signed colour higher-quality paperbacks from £25 at
http://benwestwooduk.blogspot.com/p/poems-from-runaway.html

Hardbacks available on written request.
benwestwooduk (at) gmail.com