The Corner Boy

One eye on the main chance
The other on the street
His cap pulled low when the police show
He stares down at his feet
Cig always concealed in palm
For no apparent reason
Always wears the same dark coat
No matter what the season
Hot tips are whispered on his lips
With a wink he can be coy
Not much will ever get past him
He is the corner boy

He’s never had a proper job
Not even when there’s plenty
But he’s never short of cash
And ten will soon be twenty
He wears a gold ring on his left hand
A bracelet on his wrist
His knuckles look mildly flattened 
When he makes a furtive fist
His leather shoes would cost a bit
If you paid the going rate
But like a lot of other things
He gets them from a mate
He knows where good deals can be had
He makes a smart decoy
First he’ll duck and then he’ll dive
Such is the corner boy

A razor-blade mind works overtime
Behind the furrowed brow
A vulture’s eye for detail
Misses nothing now
Procuring this and fencing that
Gadgets can be found
And even when things are scarce
His nose is to the ground
And yet his life remains unlived
Bloodless, not much joy
He’s paper-thin behind his skin
He is the corner boy

He’s well known in knowing circles
Yet his profile is kept low
And if you need to shift some stuff
He’ll tell you where to go
He shows the cleanest pair of heels
Whenever the chips are down
Sometimes he’ll talk of one day soon
He’ll have to quit this town
At dead of night he’ll take his leave
He’ll drift out on the hoy*
In search of greener pastures
That was the corner boy

*freight barge