The Ballad Of John O'kelly Poem by Chris Zachariou

The Ballad Of John O'kelly

Night falls on London Town.
Hustlers, dancers, and musicians
and all who know the seedier side
of city life begin to drift to work.

Men steal greedy glances
at teenage girls in low-cut dresses
and hungry youngsters full of lust
head for Soho to the bars and clubs.
New lovers meet, old lovers kiss
and the smell of sex is hanging in the air.

Home-sick fragile girls
—most almost children—
begin once more their life of shame.

Bewildered and afraid
they lean in darkened doorways
ready to sell their battered bodies
on seedy beds in dingy basements.

Homeless wrecks, gather at Waterloo
to spend their night in cardboard boxes.
Their stories never told—from a baby girl
or baby boy to a drunken mess, with nothing
in their wretched lives but a flask of meths.

Three in the morning.

John O'Kelly in an alcoholic stupor
tries in vain to forget Veronica.
She had said she would stay forever
but as she was promising undying love
she was opening their door to leave.

All is quiet at this hour
except for the sound of those hurting
and of all who lost all hope
and of the sound of Johnny's body
floating silently down the river.

Saturday, June 8, 2019
Topic(s) of this poem: death,life,loneliness
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