Tales From A Broken Society


He sits on the bench pulling ‘Old faithful’ closer, reality hidden behind a brown paper bag. A scarred weathered face tells a story, a story no one wants to hear. Unshaven whiskers collect stray drops as he shuffles off to his doorway.
Staring at the floor he staggers. A toe black and bruised protruding from his worn shoe.
People step sideways to avoid the stench of humanity hidden
A stench of their creation.

Jack the Lad walks by, crisp white shirt slightly open. Hair styled to perfection. His cheap aftershave masking, mixing with the smell of overpriced lager. Confident, a smirk appears.
He glances over his shoulder. He’s onto a winner.

Miss ‘Love Me Do’ totters obediently, stiletto’s wobbling, texting someone unknown.
Arms linked and giggling
with the over made up
and scantily clad.
They’re looking for a good time, hoping they get noticed.
She’ll worry about tomorrow
if and when she makes it home.

Neon lights glare, bars bustling with the upwardly mobile, the unrefined.
Tonight there’s no difference
The money smells the same.

Morals hanging from lamp posts, constant chatter.
The buzz of the city.
Taxi’s and touts fighting for attention.

The ritzy, the glitzy, sit silent in swanky restaurants.
Money no object, they hunger for status, tutting in disgust at the audacity of the contemptibles as their reflections parade before them.
Staining the over embellished windows.

All night cafe’s full of the lonely, stirring their tea with the same enthusiasm they have for life. avoiding the dungeon that once felt like home.
Avoiding the daylight their reality jumbled with each stir of the plastic spoon.

A couple in the corner order more coffee, hands held,
staring longingly.
The misty dreams of a hopeless future clouding their eyes.
Oblivious to everything
but lust.
Their wanton obsession.
Her husband,
His wife left lonely.
The questioning

Theatres once full empty onto the streets.
Mr Dinner Suit debates, dictates his opinion.
Miss Unimportant rolls her eyes, the fur around her neck
bringing warmth. His words, his self-affirming adulations
and clumsy attempts at
seduction leaving her cold.

Billboards flashing.
‘Average Joe’ walks to work.
Office’s closed, the 9 to 5s push past him, living the good life.
Flaunting their freedom from the chains of existence
that force him to the black and white screens that watch them.
They don’t know his name
but he knows them.
He sees them.
Studies them.
Every move they make
recorded for future reference.

Fumes choke the soul.

Shadows lurk in doorways.
Grubby exchanges
A means to an end.
Consequences irrelevant
For the back alley generation.

A couple argues, mascara running, staining the relationship further. The tears of deception uncovered. Mr Masculinity gesticulates
with dramatic and
over rehearsed precision.

This is where she finds herself, society displayed as the busy tone echoes through the receiver.
Urine stained ideals
at her feet
Good times promised
Cardboard sins flaunted, yet
fading, with the grubby
impotence of the men
who replaced them.

She sighs
Leaves the receiver hanging
The operator responds
Impatience mounting
With every repetitive ‘Hello’

She wanders alone amongst the unknown…
Do you see her?

Reah Roberts ©2012


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