Saturday, June 27, 2015

Bradford Middleton- Three Poems


The sun came pouring through my window
And for once I seized the moment and went out
Out past the end of town, out to a beach of sand
Through that town and out on to the hills
The rolling hills of the South Downs
Up there it felt so good, looking down at this town
It felt almost god-like, seeing towns laid out
Across the land below

In the outer zones, where the people say hi
Just out on the street to anyone they pass
It ain’t like that in town
Round this way it’s all snooty looks
Thinking they got it so right
But when I walk the countryside it just seems
Like a different time to now
A time of community, a place to share

Tonight I could have gone out again
To whore myself off at some other open-mic
But what is the point when no one cares
I’m glad I got the town off my back
Went out into the wilds and
Came back like a wise man from the desert
Aware for once that a good long walk
Is more beneficial and fun that any poetry open-mic


There are people in this town who are being driven out of their jobs and their homes by the continuing rise in rental rates and an alarming new trend amongst landlords to discriminate against those who need some assistance from the council in order to pay that rent.  I am one of these people.  I currently live in a bedsit in central Brighton and pay a modest rent but the years of living on a short-cut for all ambulance and police vehicles as well as the countless events on the seafront have made me want to move.  I work in this city as a part-time sales assistant for a well-known high street chain; they pay me so little that I am forced to claim housing benefit off the council in order to cover my rent.

The situation I now find myself in is that I have a job and a flat that I want to get out of but I can’t simply because I am on housing benefit and it appears that no landlord will accept people in my circumstances.  I have tried over thirty places in the last week, each of which ended with me becoming angry and frustrated as yet again I am told that they do not accept housing benefit recipients.

I find this to be a ridiculous situation. I want to remain in this city but it appears I cannot because of the discriminatory stance of a lot of landlords.  Let me ask them one question, one day when you want to buy a pint of milk at 10pm and you go to your local high-street shop only to find them shut because every employee lives so far away that they have had to shut early, what will you do then?  Will you be glad that you told someone who works but is in receipt of benefits that you would not be able to live in your property?


The suburbs are changing as they grow further afield being sucked into the ghetto as the poor’s rent grows out of control
The old places have become a battle-ground for buy-to-let agents with no conscience for now private council flats
The middle-class and richer have moved in and taken over as the super-rich have seized the city
I couldn’t afford to live where I grew up now, at 1200 a month, who really could?
The suburbs to me, from my time spent out there, are places where everyone lives; rich and poor side-by-side
My best friend from the age of 13 went to a public school and his Dad was a university professor
They owned a fancy looking house near me that I used to think was just swell
But it never occurred to me that where I lived was different, forty feet up in a box we rented
For me we were all the same, even those who hated me and wanted to kill me, because of where we came from
It seems we all wanted to get out and some of us did just that 

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