Cutting The Line

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
flop-houses are a phenomenon of the forties, but this poem is actually set in the seventies. People in flop-houses paid for a night to sleep suspended on a length of washing-line.

Submitted: November 09, 2018

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Submitted: November 09, 2018

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Cutting the Line 

 

I thought I was underprivileged

Till Dad took me to Billy and Peg’s

Where I came face to face with such desperate folk

Society’s unwanted dregs

Irish Billy and Peg ran a flophouse

Where poor souls paid a bob for the night

To kip, on a length of clothesline

From one wall to t’other pulled tight

The Last Chance Saloon, in the centre of Town

Where the stench of stale piss burnt your eyes

And to sleep was nigh-on impossible

Midst the foulness, and buzzing of flies

To my shame this wasn’t a charity mission

We weren’t here to help these poor folk

But to cut the line… and skittle ‘em over

Which was my dad’s idea of a joke

And me, his unwilling accomplice

His twelve year old partner in crime

He’d made this my dastardly rite of passage

To sneak in… and cut the line

 

Cut the bloody line Son

Just cut the bloody line

Show ‘em what you’re made of

Or you ain’t no son of mine

Kick a dog when it’s down

These scumbags are lower than swine

Show ‘em that we’re better

And cut the bloody line

 

I thought I was underprivileged

But my eyes were opened for sure

Nine silhouettes in the doom and the gloom

As I glanced about through the back door

Marionettes in human form

Real people hanging on rope

Suspended ghouls, defying gravity

Devoid of all reason and hope

A miserable blanket doubled up as a blackout

With a segment of light from its fall

Where the rising sun sent in rays of hope

Projected onto the far wall

The projected image, looked just like a smile

Bitter irony, I just have to say

For no God in heaven smiled down on this lot

On this their judgement day

My Dad had delivered his verdict

Being destitute their only crime

And me… the reluctant henchman

To sneak in… and cut the line

 

Cut the bloody line Son

Just cut the bloody line

It’ll be funny as frig to see folk fall

Headfirst in their own grime

Cut the bloody line son

Just cut the bleedin’ thing

A dénouement to a puppet show

For the people on the string

 

I thought I was underprivileged

Till I entered that heinous back room

Where my eyes became used to the darkness

And faces appeared from the gloom

Nine real people, not just silhouettes

Folk that I’d seen about town

An ex-serviceman, who had once served us proud

But whose luck had run out, and was down

I recognised the old man with a beard

Who begged by the market for coppers

Only to spend it on liquor

Amphetamine sulphate and poppers

Saddest of all was a girl of sixteen

Too young to be selling her charms

For the cost of a night on the clothesline

And the muck that she shot in her arms

How could my Dad be so cruel?

To wish such ill will on these nine

And to ask me to join in his madness

To sneak in… and cut the line

 

Cut the bloody line Son

Just cut the bloody line

Show ‘em what you’re made of

Or you ain’t no Son of mine

These losers are merely pond-life

To fester in their own grime

Show them that we’re better

And cut the bloody line

 

I no longer felt underprivileged

A comparative millionaire

Relativity gains new perspectives

When sited among such despair

How could my Dad be so wicked?

And I be, so cruel as to help

My Dad was The Devil incarnate

And I… The Devil’s Whelp

When The Devil gives out his orders

None but the brave can refuse

And me… a cowardly boy of just twelve

To tend to his whims and amuse

I took the knife in my hand

Ashamed of the harm I was doin’

To the nine common people, who’d done me no wrong

But whose day I was going to ruin

I looked to the sky for guidance

Please God, give me a sign

Deliver me from evil

And stop me from cutting the line

 

 

Cut the bloody line Son

Just cut the bloody line

It’ll be funny as frig to see folk fall

Headfirst in their own grime

Cut the bloody line son

Just cut the bleedin’ thing

A dénouement to a puppet show

For the people on the string

 

Dilemma upon dilemma

Do wrong…. Or disappoint Dad

I was between a rock and a hard place

With the options that I had

Tears welled in my eyes

As I sought inspiration divine

But even if I wanted to

I couldn’t cut the line

 

I can’t cut the bloody line Dad

I won’t cut the bloody line

And if that means, tha’ll disown me

Then I’ll be no son of thine

I look to you for guidance

A moral compass of mine

So please don’t judge me harshly

But I just can’t cut the line

 

 

 


© Copyright 2018 K J Walker. All rights reserved.

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