fraud

the biggest fraud I ever felt

was being mugged in new york

I’d flown caught the greyhound

out to Philadelphia

then a local bus to the suburbs

to meet this girl

who turned out to be a drunk

she didn’t want me

except as a drinking bud

& after a few days of that

I had to leave

her family were warning me to go

I tried hitching out

then back on the bus

& walking distracted in the dark

this black guy friends snickering behind

wanted my money my grandads watch

his intent being stronger than mine

I handed these over

to later sit in a bum hotel

bought with the last of my sock money

no glass in the windows no tv no heat

staring out in the dark night

thinking over over

have I come to this?

borrow 5

I learned early

when the scrounge

came around

if they ask to borrow 5

give them 10

just make sure

you lean in to say

I know you need this

pay me back soon as you can

& know for sure

you let it go

that you will never

see that 10 again

& with luck

nor them

dead mans corner

she doesn’t approve

that I turn over the page corner

on my well thumbed books

from

Hemingway

Kerouac

Bukowski

Fitzgerald

Hunter S Thompson

Wolfe

Robbins Tom

now aging books

would prefer I use a book mark

I tell her I don’t think those cats mind

its not as if they’re gonna

come round

knock the door to complain

issit?

where are you going?

there seemed to be

a great interest as to what

I might do for a living

in my adult life

when I grew up

though I noticed

they never asked

how I was today

any ideas? they’d say

& I had none to give

having told when I was five

I wanted to be a poet

a writer of plays

& man they laughed so hard

after that blow

I had nothing more to give

now all I’d say was away

away from here

& in response they’d wonder

where are you going?

I’d laugh right back

in their uncurious faces

any road will do eh?

if I don’t know where to

by no means

she was not a rotten person

or hugely unkind by any means

just that her opinion of herself

was self-awarded given in adversity

as befitting a hero of our culture

she bimbled up to me

I’ve heard about you & your women

that’s interesting I offered

always ready to hear more

more for sport than any

mending of ways you understand

& I of course

probably from the same people

have heard lots about you

& your many lovers

how are they now?

how dare you! she shouted close up

that’s a disgraceful thing to say

to insult a woman in such a way!

oh I thought we were meeting as equals

intimates sharing gossip you know?

but her face & brain were frozen

hate had taken over

I had to walk away slowly

like you do with rabid dogs

keeping our eyes locked

by no means show any fear

for that only encourages the beasts

home again

turned up

all there on time

bunch of flowers

needing a vase

some good home

on our second date

knocked on the door

to a little dismay

as nobody answered

all quiet inside

& then just as I turned

a soft giggle then shshsh…

tempted I listened again

gentle creak of floorboards

as she crept to the spyhole

I left the flowers lying there

having no more need of them

completed my turn away

taking the slow walk home

opened my own door

slipped inside

opened the bottle

pulled back the sheets

home again

& those landlords

we do things the way we do

because we learned

that’s the way to do them

like I find myself absent minded

washing my hands in cold water

living so long in cold water flats

or that place the landlord

locked everything down

meters for the electricity

same for the gas heating

the hot water air & food

when thinking of you

never hugging me

offering love encouragement

unthinking I find it hard now

someone offers a compliment

my lover turns in for comfort

needs effort to do more

on my part

so now I wonder if you

& those landlords

were related?

& every now & then she’d stir

she wasn’t a bad person

just had nothing to say

could sit hours straight

watching the box all day

soaps reality tv gossip stuff

& every now & then she’d stir

go make a snack put the coffee on

I’d drop in suggest we go out

but first the recorder needed on

schedule consulted in case

she might miss some programme

then & only then having considered

she might put foot out the door

& somewhere along the way

I began to forget to pick her up

found myself involved elsewhere

she wasn’t a bad person

just had nothing to say

the drug had taken her over

losers club rules

another one leaves

as you climb the walls

looking for the losers club rules

knowing you will get over this

over her

but first

there will be pain

you will feel lost & alone

then comes the emptiness

the endless bargaining of

if only

if only I’d done this

if only that had/had not happened

lack of sleep appetite

increased drinking drugs

the obsessive thinking

those things we did

is she doing them now

& who with?

until one morning

you can face the day

eat a little healthy

tear up the losers club rules

begin again