Street Poem

Conceived by Karl Hyde and Rick Smith from Underworld, Manchester Street Poem threw a spotlight onto the stories of those who find themselves homeless in the city – in a work where the catch-all term ‘homeless’ gave way to individuality, identity and integrity.

Manchester Street Poem brought to life the stories of people who are homeless in Manchester in a work that was both fleeting performance and compelling installation. As Hyde covered the walls of the venue with words and phrases drawn from the streets, the space was filled with a powerful soundtrack built on snatches and fragments recorded by Smith all over the city.

Co-created by Underworld and individuals with personal experience of homelessness, Manchester Street Poem proudly broadcast the voices of those who so often go unheard and ignored.

Manchester Street Poem took place Thur 6 – Fri 14 July 2017 as part of Manchester International Festival

UNFEAR 68-70 Oldham St, Manchester M4 1LE


I tried to commit suicide, and thought, I went back into the hospital voluntary, and I went, I did another three times voluntary, going in, three times I attempted suicide and… Obviously, I didn’t succeed, I’m still here.


I come to London, I start working illegally; if I get cash in hand, I work. I was there during that time, that is the way I live, cash in hand, I work, I work, I work.


I got kicked out of my mum’s, six, seven years ago and, er, I ended up at the Salvation Army hostel in Manchester for two years, and then I was in various, er, housing, er, kind of schemes, then.

Er, basically, I got on the waiting list for housing, I was in the wrong band, which is why it took three years to get this flat, so, yeah, I’ve been there four years now, so it’s going alright.


Some can be a bit… I mean, it depends what they’ve been through. If they’ve been through a lot of mistrust with people, and suffered a lot of abuse from people, and been kicked from door, to door, to door, to door, it takes time to build up that trust. So as long as that takes, it takes as long as it takes, it’s as simple as that. Yeah. So yeah, it depends on the individual, you know.


And then, come back, had a third wife, no kids, but I just found it very hard to settle in life. So I went off again, just drifting, and I ended up back on the streets again, living rough, living in forests. I spent six months living in a, literally, in a forest. And just become a man of the ground, so went back to nature.


Since a young age, my family was… My dad was an alcoholic, so he was violent, so that… I used to run away from home, get into crime, then I was put in care, not regarding my family, because of my activity of criminality.