What happened ……

When DH and I go to visit my mum and dad we often drive past a hobo sitting forlornly on the side of the road with a mismatched, ragtag bundle of meager possessions. He’s a big man, long hair and a full beard – filthy dirty with a puce colured coat and head down, never looking at the passing cars. I always wonder how he ended up in such a dire state?

“I used to be somebody you know
People used to look me in the eye, shake my hand and call me sir
That was before
That was before that night – I signed the deal and they told me I was the best
Everybody wanted to buy me a drink and I didn’t say no
Dave wanted to drive me home but I told him to piss off, I was no girly that couldn’t hold my drink
I got in the car

I killed him you know
They say I hit him so hard that he ended up in the ditch across the way
Just 16 he was, on his way home from football practice
They put me away for a while but I got parole for “good behaviour”
Bloody joke, no booze inside.

And now, sleeping rough,
My family moved away, no forwarding address
They deserted me – the bastards
I’m afraid, especially at night
I hide behind the station
Under the boxes
They hurt me when they can find me
They take my stuff,
I’m all alone.”

Postscript – I wrote this a few weeks ago and didn’t get around to posting it. The irony of the situation is, when we went to fetch my parents for Christmas lunch at my brother’s today, there was a plain wooden cross in the spot where he used to be. Willie, that was his name, died on 17 December 2012.

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9 thoughts on “What happened ……

    • Thanks Fiona 🙂 We had a quiet celebration but all good – hope you and your lovely family plus pooch had a wonderful festive season and I wish you only the very best for a fantastic 2013!

  1. That’s sad. The choice to walk past is one I have made, and I’m not proud. Your poem makes me hope that next time I will stop and help. HAve you ever come across David Walliams’ Mr Stink? Well worth a read on this subject. It’s a children’s book of course…

    • My friend, it’s a choice we’ve all made and something I think humanity tends to do unless the issue gets right in your face. Thank you for the heads up on the book, I will be sourcing it very shortly. I hope you, Phil and the children had a wonderful Christmas and I wish you only the very best for an incredible 2013.

  2. I feel your compassion and empathy in this poem. ‘I used to be somebody…’ that line has really affected me. Homelessness is an issue that really concerns me and there are no easy answers. Very well expressed.

    • Thanks so much Selma for your comments, I appreciate your support. Homelessness is a huge issue in South Africa and something that most of us, including myself, are guilty of ignoring unless its right under your nose. Hope you and your family had a spectacular Festive Season and I wish you only the very best for a wonderful 2013 xx

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