(on being homeless in Sheffield in the 1980’s) i. Among mills, warehouses, tenements; stone blackened; cars burned; metal rusted; Each transformed by the neglect brought by progress. Brittle breath clouds brittle glass, as snow creaks underfoot. Reaching up to break and enter an abandoned Police Station. Apt audacity from the sanctioned and disenfranchised. There is shelter in this metaphor.
* ii Corridors of peeling paint. The stench of rats and other vermin filling lungs with a poisoned air of defeat. Crawling through the wreckage of human lives discarded; hypos; take outs; signs that other victims of the decay, abandoned this derelict building in search of new life, or a final willing journey to the underworld.
* iii Exhausted, guts ripped, heart torn, searching for small comfort among the squalor; a respite from perdition’s sting; he locates a clean room, cold and tiled, a joyless aluminium table. the faint odour of formaldehyde; He rolls his coat to make a pillow and sleeps on a mortuary slab. The irony does not escape him.