old church France

halfway down a hill

we pulled in to the parking

walked on in

from somewhere

music soft & low

recording

of early vocal trance

say 17th century

we sat for a while

not in prayer

just silent contemplation

no priest no congregation

just yer man on a cross

over the altar

& us

after ten maybe 15

we got up to go

silent communication

we’d had our fill

put some coins

chinking into the offertory

for the candle

we’d set to burn

for those gone before

them no longer with

& for

our own

lost souls

ain’t never been there

big fat album

the old-fashioned kind

you get from the processing

of photos from their holiday

trails beaches

people they met places seen

oh you must go

only cost us xxxxx

we put it on the card

pay it back over a while

once in a lifetime trip

there were glossy pics

of buffets dinners drinks on terraces

living kings & queens

rooms all white cotton light

sky blue bright suns

happy smiling faces

oh you must go said over & over

& how to say?

I’m not built for that

rather be living low

taking it easy within my means

than living high

on tomorrow’s beans

my loss I know

ain’t never been there

won’t be going soon

but when my ship comes in

I’ll be sure to make that scene

these little hands of mine

she’s squealing now

you’re groping me!

she calls it mauling

where once

I could make her squeal

in oh so many different ways

& I pull away

apologise

for not making her

be like feel like

those other days

different space & times

she knows

I love to feel her

those different rhythms

warm sweet curves

& I’m wondering now

how long we can keep going

make this thing work

if what I/we do

is no longer fun

to her

waitin’

meet me at XX she said

which was a place

I did not know

& I was there minutes early

little posy of roses

next to me on a stool

had one while I was waitin’

the barkeep nodded at them roses

smiled & said

I did not know you cared

so we had another one

there was no paper

nothing on the walls to read

watching the roses wiltin’

seemed the only thing to do

& after an hour had gone

said the clock on the wall

me & my new best friend

had another while waitin’

he put them roses in water

while the booze began buzzin’

helped stopped the hurtin’

barkeep stopped on by

full shot glass on the house

looks like this ain’t your day

have this one for free

help you on your way

I took that shot took it in

what else was I gonna do?

helen

Helen thought

she had it high over us peons

having been

to one of those great universities

where according to her

she’d got the bestest education

ever

she had all the right connections

& opinions

which you couldn’t possibly argue with

not being bright enough

& all

but we knew who she was

one time is all we needed

she left her tote bag unattended

pulled out her green gin bottle

tasted & Gordon’s it was

halfway down the bottle

I put a tiny crimp in the label

so’s to mark the level

let her flash that around

another month or more

then when

she got it out to show

what a rebel

revolutionary spirit she was

we noticed the level had not moved

us peasants may have our strange ways

but we know how things really are

summer daze

drinking wine late afternoon

with a hippie chick I met on my walk

sat on the dry grass

sipping out of china cups

gingham dress (her that is)

cheap wine

thin cracked porcelain

talking of nothin’ much

I did not want her

she did not want me

sitting apart in case of touch

& then her friend came along

another cracked cup

pulled out of a never end bag

forming a triangle

& this one wanted

neither of us either

when the wine ran out

they looked to me

for the scratch

I got to my feet

said be back in five

went off to the grog shop

got waylaid

on the way there

by a goth girl who did want me

found the wine

went back to my place

reflecting on chance meetings

how life is such

gone now

the place

where we laid our heads

made our bed

you painted pictures

on the wall

no trace left

of anything

we did or said

the love we made

days we played

nothing now but

grass & weeds

where once

we had wants & needs

mornings of cuddles

huddles

against the cold outside

& like that place

you are gone too

I have no idea

where you are

who you care for

but I do know

it is not me

& some days

I don’t care about that

at all

this is not

one of those days

walk me home?

she asked

with a cute smile

& when I said

no I could not

she affected hurt

offered to make it

all worth my while

is when I put it straight

I’m an older man

& you my sweet

are under age

your kind offer

to look after me

if I walk you home

take you to your gate

only frightens me further

I don’t want

to be one more

to take advantage

do the things

you already know

learnt from others

who don’t know any better

but I do

I’ll call you cab

put cash in his hand

but I can’t go with you

& I hope one day

you understand

last person

he comes round

wringing his hands

I don’t know what to do

ok ok I say

who was the last person

you spoke to?

& from there

I can work out the position

they are currently holding

there was a time

gone some time ago

I’d present a viewpoint

drawn from my own

mistakes & hard learning

give them new ways to go

but no now I hold the line

what do you think?

what might you do?

how do you feel about this?

to let them run on moping

tell me I’m not helping

& I guess I’m not

but there is no point

if they’re gonna go from here

& ask another sap

for advice on what to do

because that’s exactly what

got them in this pickle

in the first place