We walk by in a blur, a mass of distracted zombies.
Clean zombies, skinny jean zombies,
hunting for caffeine and cash machine zombies,
sucked into bright little screen zombies.
Blinkered by synthetic light, burning brighter than the real plight of
human lives gone up in flames.
We stay contained in our devices, de-brained and divided.
Walking through the city, swiping through cinders, like profiles on tinder.
Rejecting and blocking, denying and cropping the signs.
On the side of the path, they display their status,
desperately trying to update us. “Homeless, hungry, in need.”
Competing with our walls, our feeds. Battling with our greed for
attention. They’re not worth a mention or a hashtag, unless it’s to brag of
our compassion, when charity is back in fashion.
Now it’s trending, food banks are lending, hugs are free and we’re all friending.
But still pretending our pockets are bare.
No change to spare. Too busy sharing to care.
For the low-tech, the bluetoothless,
disconnected, unplugged, unloved, unliked, unfriended.
They’re not fools.
They see through our shrugs and shaking heads.
Our rehearsed excuses and apologies. Please.
But how could they know how much time we spent online
finding petitions to sign and causes to follow.
The bucket of ice may be shallow, but
it proves that we care.
It’s just easier to help the homeless share by share.
It’s how we’ll launch our kickstarter;
to make the homeless of London smarter.
Call off the search engine, we’ve found the solution!
The homeless wi-fi network is a revolution.
Update Facebook, send out tweets!
We’ll enlist every vagabond on London’s streets.
Give us a thumbs up, pop usernames into the cup.
We’ve written out the T&Cs, just scroll to the bottom and click agree.
Like, comment, tag a friend, write an email and click send.
We need this to go viral, there’s a lot to arrange.
And it can all be crowdfunded with
a small amount of change.
This poem made up part of my coursework for Open University module A215, back in 2016, hence why I feel it’s a little bit dated now.
Take a moment to support Crisis if you can. I sponsor a placement there every Christmas, to help someone turn their life around.