The Concert

On Christmas Day we go to town,
to meet at lovely Staffort Park.
To honour there -in cap and gown-
three scholars in the fading dark.

As Homeless Day it's been declared
and tons of food have been procured,
to feed all those who haven't fared
as well as others, and endured
much misery and hunger, cold,
disease and booze and other issues,
and lice and fleas, it should be told.
Sometimes a lack of toilet tissues.

So, overall here's what I think:
That public shame be heaped on us
and not on them, although they stink!

The band is set for the procedure,
the bachelors of homelessness
are now presented as the feature
of altruism and success.
Their selfless, constant dedication
to help the poor is well regarded.
In early morning presentation
they're justly lauded and awarded.

The band then follows the applause,
Waltzing Matilda is the tune,
before the players sit to pause,
there, in the last light of the moon:
Like mushrooms rising after rain,
a thousand figures standing up,
and bushes, trees and hedges wander
up to the tent to grab a cup.

A plate of paper is then filled
and held by hands so badly stained,
and shaking 'til the coffee's spilled.

A lady, of quite pleasant looks
unpacks her knapsack and produces
a toilet seat, complete with hooks,
she demonstrates then how she uses
this implement on two old bricks.
If it's too low, she says, it sticks.

And life goes on as many more
come up to feed and help themselves.
A tall man with a nasty sore
upon his hand goes through the rolls,
then puts them all back on the shelves.

A crash is heard and someone falls,
he cuts his face on ragged glass.
It was the bottle filled with Sherry,
that's shattered, lying on the grass.
It would have made the fellow merry.

The party now has picked up speed,
some figures dancing, swinging hips.
The tall one has gone on to bleed
from two more cuts into his lips.
But he is happy as he has
succeeded to ingest the dirt,
which stole the contents of the glass.
He slurs 'Recycling does not hurt'.

A white man now ascends the stage
and grabs the microphone to sing.
It is a song of silent rage
and leaves a bitter-sweetish sting.
He sings of pain and rank unfairness,
of bold corruption and of times,
when our world still had awareness
of 'Love thy neighbour', then he climbs
down from the stage. I wander over.

And talk to him, he's educated,
and tells me that he hails from Dover.
Has seven kids and one Ex-wife,
but that his sweet whole dream deflated
when things got pleasant in his life.
A music teacher and conductor,
he'd had it all, was well-respected.
His wife, a chiropractic doctor,
had found someone and then defected.
The bones of others felt more handsome.

So hubby later came to feel,
that terms like 'gives a hoot' and 'ransom'
profoundly changed their even keel.
One morning, he had slept quite late,
he shuffled out to have some tea,
that's when he saw his trusted Kate
perform a sex act on her knee.

It wasn't long after that scene,
he packed his ancient sailor's sack.
And left his house, where on her back,
his wife was therapeutically between
adjustments of her lover's bones.
His standing member could be seen.

'I've not looked back', the teacher says.
'Can see my home from near the hedge.
Where I now live my somber days.
One thing's for sure and I do pledge:
I will not stoop to ever go
back to the high society.
I'm used to this now, to the flow
and to the wild variety.'

And on he goes to tell of times,
when Kate was seen to look for him.
And, as he grabs a couple limes,
a croissant and a large dim-sim,
'she wants me back to pay the bills,
the fellows boner soon got flaccid,
he left her cold, took to the hills.
An addict he was, dealt in acid.'

'My mind is free, I have my health,
the time's my own, the stars my lights.
I do not need the spoils of wealth,
and to fly high, I have my kites, '
And then he left and leaving me
to chew a sausage without tasting.
I realised that he was free
from wife and house on Upper Hastings.
Perhaps that was a way to be.

The party ended as they do
when Santa finished with the presents.
The band packed up, so did the crew.
The evening had been rather pleasant.
And when the mists of Dawn came calling
to cover all and tuck them in,
I thought how thoroughly appalling
that all these people, just as sin-
and thoughtful as the rest of us,
were disadvantaged by the system.
And that not one man made a fuss
about it and we only missed them
one day a year, when Christmas Guilt
would prompt this reconciliation.
And like a plant that's sure to wilt
it serves as short-lived titillation.

And going home means crossing bridges,
that seperate the Have-Nots from
our televisions, stoves and fridges
and laptops with their bright dot coms.
Well aren't we happy for two reasons?
We've done our duty once again.
Brought joy into the Christmas season,
and all went well, back to the Den.

Though just between you, him and me,
I'll say out there, it felt so strange,
with smelly people, wild and free,
who have their homes out on the range.
that they have something I do not,
a thing of value for this life.
Can't put my finger on it but......
Oh, there she is!
My dressed up wife.

by Herbert Nehrlich

Comments (2)

Yes I see what you mean. It will always be a problem. No matter how much we do it will never be enough.
What a nice encapsulment of an event. Well done, H.