Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


by Paul Tristram

Back when I was a teenager
a lot of people were poor.
Some nights as we hung around
the streetlights on back corners
we would see them and laugh
to ourselves in between drinking
cider flagons and plotting tyranny,
as they came jumping over fences
or falling off moonlit garden walls.
Kids as young as seven or eight,
from a few council estates down,
stealing clothes off washing lines.
No one could afford to buy dryers
so you had to use the garden lines.
But if you snoozed you loosed,
guard them or they were gone.
The dirty little thieving urchins
would take absolutely everything,
except for the jeans, they gave them
to us as a tax for a peaceful
crossing of our home territory.
They were worth a grubby £5 note
of your money, any day of the week,
in the pubs of Neath the next day.
Glue-sniffer even claimed
to have sold back a pair
to their original owner once.
They would even grab underwear
men’s, women, boys, girls
and big baggy old peoples.
Dragging them back home in sacks
to their Mam’s who would in turn
dish them out to everyone in the family.
Happy days for these women
for some other poor bugger had even
washed this season’s attire for them.
You haven’t lived until you have seen
grown men set ferocious dogs
on the heels of scarpering children
over second-hand T-shirts,
old Y-fronts and a pair of holy socks.

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