Tinsel and Glitter

By: Michael Jenkins

This isn’t real. This is necessary.

Come with me through the brick and rat exposed arches of Hafod’s Copperopolis in an industrial century gone now of Swansea, to the Modernista of Barcelona where Antonio Gaudi’s father was a copper smith, to the template of austerity in a Greece that traded with these docks below Swansea’s St. Thomas’s of Dylan Thomas’s mam into a Blade Runner future where you define yourself as human by…

Awake, my sleeper, to the sun. A worker in the morning where it is the knuckles teach you my mind that’s the one communication code best quickly understood: the flashing hands at home, the teacher’s cane at school, the clenched fist defining belonging of the council estate. Ever no never please so too on the forgetful of the nuances of wicked hierarchy in those our playing fields we knew until the evening light of physicality and instinct won over by…

A lifetime later, on the puffed-out Christmas walk to Wind Street, an Everyman with a leaflet and a Christmas Appeal; without teddy bears, alas.

From the attic window, look into the dancing neon night blackness, music leaking from the cherry-red, apple-green disco sign building below, car-brakes screech, tyre rubber burns and we hear laughter –other’s. My gift is my label – homeless. The air of prosperity of the street has disappeared with its left out and walked over scraps. I will feel better in the morning, I will feel better in the morning but for now in weeks of snow- light, it is a struggle to make this life in cardboard.

I got taken in by a homeless hostel. ‘Let’s do something different,’ a member of the support staff suggested. We had a house meeting and hit upon a journey rather than a drive through dream full villages to golden Rhossili.

“What would you like to drink, gentlemen?” rang out as we entered the panoramic hotel bar. Tea or coffee ended the invitation we had heard differently. On the return, this time we didn’t drive a wrong way down a one-way street: though it wasn’t that easy for everyone who made the trip, for we had anxieties but chided each other along. We experienced something different. And the vinegar covered fish and chips in Mumbles were excellent and some of us brought them back to wolf down in our basement dining room with a now dusky view.

Yes, this is richer and I am inside it and I can see the ocean and not water.


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