Poverty intrigues her

A few years ago I was at a poetry event at Morden Tower and started talking to a young woman about her teenage years. She told me of her experiences in the nightclubs of Middlesbrough. She loved the rough clubs with their pasty faced boys who were out of their heads on Smack and Es. Then she said the phrase that stuck in my mind “Poverty intrigues me I don’t know why?”

This was the first time I had come across what we would now call “Poverty Tourism”. She also mentioned dancing to a band called Cheap Trick and their track “I want you to want me” . I have combined the lyrics of the song into her story. In case you have forgotten this 70’s classic click the song title above to hear it. If you would like a download PDF of this poem click here or if you would like to hear a sound file try this link (which after listening to it I have to admit sounds a bit like John Cooper Clarke).

Jeff Price

Poverty intrigues her

The doorway of the nightclub stinks of piss and sick

Inside the teenage rebels are dancing to “Cheap Trick”

Smackheads cruise the car park pouncing tabs and change

Fifty pence for an dodgy E is the current rate of exchange

I want you to want me.
I need you to need me.

Black sludge running down the wall looks like Miner’s spit

Inside you can be whatever you want, no one gives a shit

Cross dressing boys in polka dots would fail a fashion test

And every girl wants to have Jim Morrison on her chest

I’ll shine up the old brown shoes, put on a brand-new shirt.
I’ll get home early from work if you say that you love me.

A sweet suburban girl is dancing with smack addled boys

She like the taste of danger mixed with the deafening noise

They move to the same rhythm but it’s a different beat

She knows the taste of winning, they only know defeat

I’d love you to love me.
I’m beggin’ you to beg me.

She’s a character she’s created, an urban disguise

She just wants to see the world through different eyes

If you get to close to her she’ll just say good bye

Poverty intrigues her, she doesn’t know why.

Feelin’ all alone without a friend, you know you feel like dyin’.
Oh, didn’t i, didn’t i, didn’t I see you cryin’?

On the red spiral staircase time has slowed

The boom box beats out in binary code

Her head is pulsing between shivers and sweat

She thinks she’s dying but she hasn’t started living yet

I want you to want me.
I need you to need me.

In a couple of years she’ll leave it all behind

This town just makes her feel too confined

But there will be one thing she’ll never deny

Poverty intrigues her, she doesn’t know why

©Jeff Price 2017


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