Housing

Why is a safe place to sleep not a basic human right? Because capitalism will only let you have a house if you pay for it and not everyone can pay for it. Poems and articles about housing and homelessness.

We Slept Here

We Slept Here

 

We slept here
on Waverley Bridge
under the shadow of a granite ridge

Next to the only station
named for a novel -
our open-air waiting room, no place to travel

Just along from the Spoons and the bars
by the pools of piss and broken jars
under the sober moon and stars

They swept beer.
A gull crept near.
We slept here.

Locked Up and Down

figure behind prison bars

If you're locked down with books
and a partner who cooks
better than you
Then you'll probably get through

If you're locked down with a garden
it might not be so hard and
with a nice glass of wine
You'll probably be fine

If you're locked down with games
and people who play them
and plenty of space
You can probably face it

Hostile Architecture

anti-homeless spikes

This stinking subway,
piss-soaked flags,
cold stone ground,
discarded fags
is way too good for them.

Install steel spikes,
bayonet their bodies off the floor
and out of doorways,
It's allowed,
or so the law says.

For sure these spears were ordered
from some lordly, comfy quarters
by people with a home to go to
when the deed was done.
Out of sight.

Self-Isolation in a Single Hostel Room

single room

Day 1 confined to room - no going out

Day 2 do push-ups, Netflix, clean the floor

Day 3 phone friends and scrub the tiling grout

Day 4 a breakfast bag outside the door

Day 5 phone friends and tell them how I'm feeling

Day 6 lean out the window for some air

Day 7 sit-ups, Netflix, clean the ceiling

Day 8 phone friends to tell them I still care

Video: Poeting for Punk4TheHomeless

Punk 4 the Homeless

Janine Booth performing at the online Punk for the Homeless gig on 6 April 2020. Poems:

Disaffected Middle-aged Women - The Girl from Clapham - Why Can't You Just Be Normal? - Thoughts and Prayers - This Place - Stonewall Was a Riot - Night Tube - Night Tube (Covid-19 remix) - Dispensible Other - Wherefore Art Thou, Capitalism? - Clap For Carers - Unskilled - Unpublished Author - Stay the Fuck Home - Mostly Hating Tories

Affordable Home

house make of cash

Apartments and unfurnished
Flats rented or retailed for a small
Fortune, unfortunately unaffordable
Out of the price range, out of
Reach of those who need a place to call 'fixed abode'
Dictionary defines 'affordable'
Adjective: within one's financial means; not
Beyond the budget; not so dear that
Landed gentry and lottery lucksters only need apply for
Extensive, expensive accommodation eloquently extolled as 'affordable': adjective

'Having a cost that is not too high', too
Opulent, over-the-top, off-the-scale, or obviously obscene
Market-mangled meaning strangles
English language

Hackney Gardens, London E8

Homeless man sleeps under Luxury Apartment hoarding

This site was a nursery
next to the municipal mortuary
Council care from the cradle to the grave
with alphabets and sing-alongs and rhymes
Once upon a time

Then they closed it.

Next it became a unit where the students
the schools had driven up the walls
were taken to be straightened out
or at least kept away from trouble

Then they closed it. And sold the site.

Poems for Grenfell Tower: review

POETIC JUSTICE?

by Janine Booth

A wise person once said that when there is a tragedy, a lot of poetry is written. The Grenfell Tower fire is no exception, as the new anthology, 'Poems for Grenfell Tower’ illustrates.

But the Grenfell Tower fire was not just a ‘tragedy’: it was an entirely avoidable mass killing, in which people died because they were working-class, in a building that had been clad in flammable material to save money and improve the view for its rich Kensington neighbours. Many of the poems in this book reflect that truth. It is an angry book as well as a sad one.

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