Memo on Council Regulations Regarding the Little Tramp
Do not feel for the little tramp
He is bringing the hint of disorder
From some distant border
To our city doorways let’s spike him
In his back and bum when
He tries to lay his weary body down
How we’ll laugh at his gyrations!
Do not feed the little tramp
He’ll only come back for more
Remember who the public voted for
He is perfectly capable of eating his boots
Or a fellow vagabond giant chicken
Imagine how we’ll giggle at his capers –
Cannibal crunching by hypermarket bins!
Do not give cash to the Little Tramp
For scraping at a battered violin
These are austere times we are living in
And music is a frippery we can’t afford
Wild crowds may gather at this fiddling
Imagine the sniggers into your sleeve
When the coppers confiscate his strings!
Do not accommodate The Little Tramp
Because you like his tender smile
Or can imagine what it’s like to walk a mile
In his tongue-loose flipped-out shoes
A million others may follow in his steps
And you’d lose out on the chilling thrill
Of knocking him down with a fire-hose!
Take special care to ban him from parks
He may lay down in the flower beds
And disturb the tone of the begonias
He may pluck the lost rose of Albion
Reared with buckets of council tax
And present it between his teeth
To a blind girl who lost her benefits.
I’m sure you will agree
That we don’t want that.
Andy Willoughby is a poet and playwright from Middlesbrough. He has been Poet Laureate of the town and runs Ek Zuban Press with Bob Beagrie as well as the long running Electric Kool-aid Cabaret. His latest collection Sampo:Heading Further North (Red Squirrel) is a collaboration with Beagrie and draws on the Finnish myth cycle Kalevela. He is also the author of Tough (Smokestack Books), Kids ( with Beagrie, Mudfog Press) and The Wrong California: Middlesbrough Poet Laureate Poems (Mudfog Press). He is also a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Teesside University. His next collection Between Stations – a long poem about travelling to Siberia will be published by Smokestack Books in February 2016