paid hard

paid hard

for the simplest things

you know

everything costs the poor more

in hard earned cold coins

scraping the edges of my tired hands

in the giving over

for each minor mistake

I felt the lash on my bent back

pushing me along

go further along steel tracks

find something there

you can’t be here amongst us

try over again make like new

no accidents here

no missspokes misunderstands

no walking it back

responsibility is only

really there for the low

& I hear them uptown singing now

justice does not apply to me

& I’m wondering why my back teeth ache

this hot anger ebbs & flows

while downtown

only the gospel choir really knows


right, she says

before we get in there

I’ll do the ordering

talking to the wait people


& it is not ok

I like to talk to people

but of late she gets embarrassed

if I talk friendly to poor people

workers if you like

last time out, different place

cos we can’t go back

I found out the staff don’t get their tips

the boss keeps them

I gives ‘em free coffee he says

& meals when needed

& your tip helps pay for that

I wanted to punch the man

having been in their shoes

but she

& my better sense of not wanting

a long night in a holding cell

held me properly back

this is something I’ve always done

talk to anybody I can

find out their world

the rights & wrongs

of injustices done to them

& them finding their own way out

so I say, yes, sure, if that’s what you want

but we both know sumthin’

I’m gonna talk

to whoever I want to