Mr Greedy

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he may be wearing a snappy suit from Armani,
but he may be the man who rifles charity shop bins
and rips-off all but the thinnest of rags

his nails may be clipped and professionally manicured
or bitten to beyond the quick, bloodying unkempt skin
discoloured by a decade of worn-in filth

his smile may stretch across well-tended teeth
or hover over the stench of decaying stumps
free from enamel casing, waiting to widen the gaps

he may slumber between Egyptian cotton sheets
or in a street-stained sleeping bag
with a single thickness of cardboard to soften his dreams

greed is not the excusive domain of the rich
nor is comfort a proof of greed
you have only to speak to the man in the street
to know the greedy don’t always succeed

©Jane Paterson Basil

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19 thoughts on “Mr Greedy

    1. funny you should ask me that. I only wrote it yesterday, but I can’t remember. Maybe I was thinking about the aquisitive habits of addicts. We have these skips in supermarket carparks all over the country, for people to place their clothes in when they no longer want them. Each one is hired by one or another of our charities, and the clothes are taken to the charity shops to be sold. People sometimes rifle through the skips and steal the clothing, not because they need them, but because they can. I work for Oxfam, and the money we raise goes towards helping people around the world who are less fortunate than us. I consider that robbing from charities, just so you can wear different clothes every week is a horrible, selfish, greedy crime.

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    1. It would seem so. Something has happened which will make me about £30 a week better off, which means that instead of spending £10 savings every week to buy enough food to survive on, I’ll have £20 a week left over, and can get christmas presents for my family, just like any normal grandma. I feel rich. I think the poem came to me as a reminder not to get greedy or selfish.

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            1. I have banished Laura and Paul from contacting me. I’ve been getting texts from Laura since Friday, begging me to let her in because she has nowhere to go. I’ve ignored them. Everypart of my body hurts, but I know this is the only way. Their abuse of me is horrific, and I can’t take another moment of it. I don’t know one parent of an addict who has had to put up with so much, for so long. They have refused to leave me alone.

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              1. Ah, Jane. I can’t imagine how much pain you’re going through. They’re being so unfair to you – but you’re right, the only way they’ll stop is if they know for certain you won’t give in to their demanding behaviour. It’s the right thing to do, but you’re going to have to be so strong to do it. All the best to you, lovey. Take good care of yourself x

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                    1. The doorbell rang this evening, so i ignored it. A couple of minutes later Iheard a knock on my door, and then Laura called through the letterbos. Somebody let her into the building, even though she’s not supposed to come in. I ignored her and she went away.
                      It feels like the shock you experience after the untimely death of a loved one. I switch from grief to random thoughts about flowers or cushions or trying to remember who had the Oxfam shop before Oxfam took it over, and then I switch back to grief. But I’m ok really. I’m going to Exmouth for the day tomorrow, to check out the charity shops – we’ve heard there are a couple of really good, cheal ones. I think they’re clearance places. That will give me a break. I can spend the day not worrying about them trying to get hold of me.

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                    2. Did you enjoy your peaceful day in Exmouth? Pick up any bargains? You must feel like you’re being stalked, Jane. Perhaps if you keep ignoring them, they’ll take the hint eventually? Thinking of you x

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