The Beggars And Street Prophets Of London

On the train into London, I see EAT DA RICH scrawled on the wall. It cheers my heart. On Oxford Street a man is preaching “we can’t go on on this planet like this!” And I agree with him. I see a beggar holding a sign saying ‘I’M VERY HUNGRY’, and my heart breaks for him, and everyone going hungry.

London is a weird post-apocalyptic space right now. Even the advertising is depressing. Everybody knows the papers and the politicians are lying, and the manic street preachers make sense, but everybody just ignores them. As Simon and Garfunkel said:

And the sign said, “The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls and tenement halls
And whispered in the sound of silence”

The truth is written on the walls and spoken on street corners and no one cares. I am a manic street preacher myself, on the Internet, and I know how it feels. I am a beggar before the gods, and I know that the Buddha lived as a beggar, eating whatever he was given and wearing the robes of the dead. I know that Jesus said “Give to every man that asketh of thee,” but I didn’t because they didn’t have Apple Pay. I am truly cursed, as he continued:

Woe unto you that are rich, for ye have received your consolation.
Woe unto you that are full, for ye shall hunger.
Woe unto you that laugh now, for ye shall mourn and weep.
Woe unto you when all men shall speak well of you,
for so did their fathers to the false prophets.

All of us so comfortable in our Apple Pay, whipping our Bentley Spurs up Park Lane, stepping over the barefoot prophets of the apocalypse in our streets; gods forgive us. As the prophet Muhammad (pbuh) recited:

Did He not find you as an orphan then sheltered you?
Did He not find you unguided then guided you?
And did He not find you needy then satisfied your needs?
So do not oppress the orphan,
nor repulse the beggar.
And proclaim the blessings of your Lord.

As I said, we are all beggars before the gods. We should all worship our ancestors. Hell, we owe a lot to plankton and trees. Homelessness is literally a policy choice. Every nation could simply eliminate homelessness, it doesn’t cost that much money. Instead, they make the choice to beat and cage people instead of building public housing for any member of the public that needs it.

There are socialists outside Westminster protesting. There’s a big commie festival here in November. The train I came in won’t run for days because of strikes. There are alternatives everywhere, but the lie persists that “there is no alternative”. As REM sang in The End Of The World As We Know It”:

A tournament, a tournament, a tournament of lies
Offer me solutions, offer me alternatives
And I decline

The fact is that every beggar is an indictment of the idea that this is a rich empire. A rich country has no poor people, not too many yachts. The people preaching their gods on the street corner indict this very society. Every holy book says “don’t worship money” and we have glorified greed as our divining principle. We are surely cursed and they are telling us, while we smugly walk on by. The manic street preachers are right. The beggars are right. The laughable leftists are on point. I am with them, I am one of them, I just have an Internet connection instead of a microphone, and I’m in this corner of the Internet, not in the streets.

I walk through the expensive air of London, holding a smartphone and bank accounts and train tickets and all the things needed to survive in this hostile capitalist wasteland. I have the headphones to block it all out and the wherewithal to not give a fuck, but I read the graffiti, listen to the ‘crazy’ people, and make eye contact with the beggars. They’re right. They’re all right. The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls. Hear them echo, in the sound of silence.