© Michel Lavau, 2019

For Connor K

After uni, I move back home, my family home
at first its fine, but I will stay there for too long
far far far too long
Till the familiar areas they start to feel wrong,
like I should be gone, like I need to be gone,
I’m my own past’s clingy tag-along
Following myself thoughtless, headlong, head-first –
Headstrong I choke on my dependence in this now-strange abode
soon almost thirty, my and my childhood amigos
sit on the same street we spent so much time together all those years ago
long summer days, cold winter nights,
teenage years drinking Glenns round the back of primrose
but now I’m full grown, or at least almost,
and i can no longer live at home
So we move out, big share house,
Far away of course, where we began is far too expensive now
Prices that comprehensive-ly out-price us from where we grew up
So we migrate outwards, with lower rents our incentive
where we in turn, inattentive, push those east Londoners outwards still
them apprehensive, as we, now on the offensive,
become the problem in their neighbourhood
the problem which pushed us out of our home – for good
So here we are, and rent’s still a joke
we’re always broke
and yet let’s blame the avocados on toast?
“It’s the sourdough” they proclaim
not a housing crisis thats to blame
tory policies, budget cuts, a sharp rise in homelessness
to our country’s shame, people die on the streets
with just a few coopers in their cups
as politicians mumble ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’
well not in my name
“What about Thatcher’s right to buy?”, I cry
as the establishment bursts into flame
but its my fault, me they crucify
they say these millennials defy hard work, defy the rules
they decry our moral values
and this they testify our spending patterns will verify
with a rhetoric to terrify, they created national outcry
thanks to us you can kiss goodbye to cinemas, the high-street
weddings and TGI Fridays – apparently
the economy is crashing
and clearly I’m the reason why
Sky high rent prices
An actual housing crisis
And yet every new development is unaffordable
Government policy unintelligible
Poor families forever ineligible
Contracts signed in indelible ink
In their ivory towers they will be OK

Not like us, they’re not poor, not them, not they
Holding the microphones, orchestrating judgment day
You can’t have it your way, not unless you can pay
Our voices shrinking, losing even the right to say
“What the fuck happened here?”
Like a terrible scene from some forgotten Marlow play
Devils swoop and swarm,
Full-bellied landlords hand out evictions notices, every day
Every day, another family cannot afford to pay
So the streets fill up, hostels over-flow
Is this the way our country is going to go? Is this the end of the show?
As homelessness and misery grow and grow
And so do the piles of debts that we collectively owe
Well, do you know what I say no
But does that make a difference?
Can my small missive be anything other than dismissive?
Impressive? Enlightened?
Will anyone’s suffering now be lightened?
Entertained maybe, perhaps frightened
But if anything the struggle remains simply heightened
our faces strained and whitened as the noose around our neck is tightened