Life Between HMP and the D.S.S.

… is brutal in its scavenging remorselessness.
Ducking and diving, dodgy-dealing…
trying to look after, and keep a family together,
forever in the red, and on the breadline
is the same hard graft as maintaining a Habit
(Only Without The Target Of Pleasure).
I know the 6 geezers behind the counter
at Cash Convertors better than me own missus
(They actually smile when I appear,
which is quite often lately, I have to admit).
All the ‘On The Books’ work is saved
for the ‘No Criminal Record’ types,
and once you’re On File you stay there, innit…
the Old Bill ain’t just watching you,
they’re bloody following you about the place.
My last 2 Court Appearances
were for trying to make 50pence a piece
on top of Duty Free packets of fags and baccy…
and for stealing (Borrowing)
empty cider bottles from the back of a pub
then taking them to the front for the return money.
I avoid daydreaming, it’s distracting,
and I’m always on me toes, in-and-out of bovver.
‘There Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked’ so they say,
aye, and there ain’t no relief, or escape from being Poor.

Paul Tristram is a widely published Welsh writer who deals in the Lowlife, Outsider, and Outlaw genres.  He wrote his first poem as a teenager following his release from the (Infamous) Borstal ‘HMP Portland’, and he has been creating Literary Terrorism ever since. Read other articles by Paul, or visit Paul's website.