Sally Army Man, rattling a plastic can
in the doorway of an abandoned BHS branch,
believes in creation as a real thing;
Not as dying documents of pub-dumb facts,
but a faith foundation of belief in fairness
and justice, just as the dream of Luther King
didn’t drink the dregs from chipped cups of hate
which waste our wealth like wages of gamblers.
Here, dignity and discipline are dreams lived out;
Faith and charity fight financial forces
with soul forces, fight fascism
with tunes and soup and a statue’s persistence.
This resistance sticks around to pick up the bits
after the shouting slogans have seeped away
like seashell sounds on a lacklustre holiday.
With this faith, baseless, you may say;
With this faith, dangerous, you may say;
With this faith, he hews hope
from wobbling, cracked flags and flicked out fags;
From verbal abuse and addiction to booze;
From the needy nuisance and the non-stop,
non-stop, non-stop, non-stop, non-stop
nothing going nowhere going nagging, going begging
going going going gone with the wind,
Like the steam from Vapers and greasy Greggs papers
propelled down the precinct while he persists
like discontent and drizzle, drinking from a dreamer’s cup.
It’s nowhere near enough, but he gives what he’s got.