I feel

I feel like I’m living
when
Love is good
Lust kicks in
Beauty swims by
Sunshine warms me
Dawns grow in a corner of the sky
Cover the ice in blue flame
Cicadas wake me
Horizons glow red at night
Food happens
My shoes fit
Sam the dog barks
Waves break right
Or left
Money gets paid
on time
In time
For my time
gin n’ tonic is cold
lemon just-so bitter
underwear don’t ride
trees sound like rain
grass sweet against my teeth
old friends call
traffic flowing
lights all on green
courtesy given
taken
mist over the ocean
yachts reflected still
herons fishing
sweet latte & good company
beer and humour
music from the centuries
I’ve lived
dancing like a mad thing
for the glory of it
baby gurgles
soft hands
big as my finger
first words
from all the above
and YOU.

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‘Good ole Sal’

I’m going to call her Sal, though she was never a Sal. Never an abbreviation, too deserving of time by attention gathering for that. Some girls carry abbreviation like a curse, dowdy and rotten, around thinned shoulders of burden, others carry them like torches deep into pysche: have you ever not liked a Pat? Pat’s serve good food, good functional sex and smoke strong untipped cigarettes deep into ample bosoms. One Pat I knew in my teens broke into a solicitor’s office just for us to shag into the deep pile. A Patricia could never do that… Patricia’s live in poky places where are all wants and needs never articulated and they can thrive on being poor misunderstood women. That or they acquire reputations early on as ball breakers and stand alone chain smoking in the corners of parties they gained invitation to by accident.
Bev’s too, are warm, slowly seductive, gently falling into sweet debauchery, open and willing to play but, Beverley’s? Beverley’s work in social work with a passion for poor downtrodden girls who have suffered at the hands of men. Beverley’s wear sensible shoes, eat good chocolate, share houses with other doughty women and fondle fat pussies into the night.
She was never a Sal, but I’m pissed off enough to call her that now. Sal’s serve you with a thumb in your greens, a cigarette dangling from lip corner, one eye squinting and hoping the ash settles somewhere other than gravy. But Sal wasn’t like that, she was short, sweet and blonde as autumn corn, with blue eyes to match cornflowers. The first time we met our eyes locked and I knew from the tingle that we would be lovers. I thought she played cool and so I played cool back, it wasn’t until much later that I discovered her coolness was not worldy cool but dumbness. No, that’s not quite right, she wasn’t stupid, but often she couldn’t or wouldn’t fire on all cylinders… she could infuriate me ceaselessly by her not thinking.
Some practise hours in meditation to ‘not exist’ to be ‘non minded,’ this girl had that in spades, she could non mind in the Olympics then just suddenly wake up to utter some vaguely relevant thought only to disappear inside herself again. These non sequiteurs seem fun at first then fade into one as faces of all ex lovers do: not quite dull but no longer interesting.
They tell me, those folks who swear by chicken gizzards and sky gazing that there are two types (or was it three?) of Scorpio people: Eagle and Grey Lizard. Eagles soar above the world, keen eyes looking, spotting prey and moving in for the kill. Grey Lizards don’t do this, they need sun, space and flies to come to them. Sal was a Scorpio, else I wouldn’t be telling you these things. Only I think now those who divine by the cosmos forget that none of these things apply to those who wander the earth as Zombies, walking, talking, with eyes shut to life. Walking, talking, sounds like a doll, I guess after so many years of being treated like so, then life becomes easier if you behave like one. But maybe that’s me making excuses again for others shortcomings, if so then that’s about wanting space for my own fuck ups and if this is the story of Sal’ it must also be mine of another fuck up.
If you met her, you wouldn’t believe this, a nice person you’d say, I can vouch this having heard others say same, first readings no matter what intuition tells, is crap. Sal had fucked her way through school, first her peers to get help in homework, then a young teacher who aided exam results. She ditched him of course when her needs shifted, this she told one cool evening when her sleep appeared disturbed after I’d introduced my cock into her ass, just to see if that would awaken her. As so often unfortunately happens with these first time experiences they are effective only once.
As all of us in those late times, those dark ages before sense prevailed and the new century starts ticking, she held a tale of woe. A mother who beat her with wooden spoons and shrewish tongue, of all, she preferred the spoons, the damage being lesser lasting. Then the smarter sister with duller looks and boyfriends who after counting to ten needed others assistance. Like any sap in those times I believed in tales of woe and the importance of listening: we men had to learn to hear women, to support them in their bad times, to pay penance for the gender sins of other men. I too was asleep at this time, having been put into trance by the babblings of twisted sisters with corkscrew agendas tracing shame as tattoos in unperfumed skin. I listened, hmmn’ed, tut-tutted, anything to be there: to be listening, seen to be listening, though now if I try to recall other than gossamer outlines all I get to hear is pink noise. All horror stories begin and end, to believe anything other is I guess now to purposefully miss the point. Lost in our little lives without guidance or sense we hold onto straws of others need and believe it to be profound, we make it so, or else we wake…
Sal’s horror stories were tinged with the disbelief of how these things could have been done to such a body. She did have a good body granted, a great look but then who doesn’t in youth? Blurring of physical outline occurs with age though blurring of boundary is for youth. If my memories are to be held hostage then I want/need more than surface, lip gloss and bi monthly visits to beauticians for eyelash tints, to remember. Though here is the rub, I don’t want to remember all, only that which is salient, all other is dross and clogs the memory. Sal was a pain, that is point here, yet I thought I loved her, wanted to be with her, blinded by needs I missed her being anywhere but herself. Sure she spoke, made love in dutiful ways only she wasn’t present. For this I carry now the burden of wanting to wake her. Her friends now cannot see this for they too need plenty of sleep delivered by narcotic, alcohol or gossip. Those pre occupations of those who regard themselves as bright, charming but others fall in amazement at their vacousity. Birds of a feather they say, I too wanted to be there amongst the flock, all chatter and then sleep. But too I wanted changes, a move toward life in love and meaning other than who does what to whom.
To be in this crowd was to be in isolation, to be with Sal’ meant letting go of self and following into dreams only slumber brings. Frustration builds at wanting something from others, knowing that they cannot do it and ignoring that as fact. I wanted Sal’ to be present, to be with me but she had run so far from mother that she had yet to find her way back, I too was to be added to the list of those who hurt her. I guess that’s true, I did want to hurt her for her cowardly ways, her spirit in absence, the betrayals, but I never could, to punch somebody not present only tires out my arms. She tells different now of course, telling of anger, violence, broken dreams and twisted faces, though now my name appears in place of mothers, others and the bogeyman. I cannot recall these events though clarity exists in memory of times she called wanting, needing me, her visits before she married another sleeper. He too coming from a similar background. I pass their house now, lights dimmed the better not to stir and curtains same as those I/we hung when I wanted her to wake and live.
To reject another is to reject part of ourselves, for if we are nothing but parts of the same consciousness reflecting upon each other, then possibly if we are all of the one then Sal is me and I was her. As such I cannot hate her, I recognise in myself the ability to sleep, that narcissism where nobody exists but I, that place where others are but a bore unless they carry out my whims. Where she becomes me is in her ability to hurt, wound and perhaps hurt self by the doing of these. God knows best perhaps but now I see no joy in her as the years take toll of that innocent look she first fostered in teens, as all flowers, time’s breeze renders all edges jagged. Those she stirs slowly with in somnolent circles around shopping places have achieved much the same look: that of the wise cat supping cream who recognised that to best gain love is to deny self, close doors marked personality and after a certain age hold on to whatever comes along that passes for warm flesh.
Scathing comes in many forms, that cuts deepest which passes for informed comment in polite circles or carries cowardly sucker punches over tea and sympathy. Sal for her share lives on now, having passed through fairly unscathed by my need to live life, dare to be and do. There was nothing I would not do then for her and now nothing I can do but smile as she passes by. I know and she knows that those horrible things she felt she had to say about me are untrue. I cannot call her on this to deny, challenge is but to confirm, all I can say that I held her in my arms and one day love was gone. I can call it betrayal, she can call it putting up with his ways or we can say goodbye and hold onto some tattered fragments of dignity, though I guess that’s a little late.

I don’t know who’s died

I don’t know who’s died
Who’s lying maimed
In some Spanish street at dawn
Who died from alcohol
Tho’ one I know died from leukaemia
He married an ex-girlfriend of mine
and
I can only hope
Wish
That he died in love
In her arms.
All those crazy young men
Riding black chrome death traps
Into
Blacktarred flat tops
Sunsets and shrouds
Gone from me
In my ignorance of their
living
passing.
I cannot imagine their lives
Only that some may still be
Alive
I wonder if they passed their days
In the same winsome way
I remember
Their adolescent days
In some eternal half yeller
Sunny
Evening
Of golden cider
Stolen cigarettes
and girl women
with sticky knickers
We were boys then
and some of us
Still are

Will you write about this? She asks, leaning back into her seat. Her eyes gather the light from some setting sun reflected in mirrors for sale. You will won’t you? He knows that denial here would be pointless and anyway there just may be a story in here somewhere. She continues, tells of love gone wrong, a man, an ex, actually. Now funded by another’s trust fund, house sale and possibly better career choices. This last not spoken but created between sentences that hang as she waits for him to ask how she feels about them… He doesn’t, having learnt painfully over the years that to ask another how they feel about, stuff, feelings, can be a disaster zone. Especially when they may also have some negative feelings about the askee. Such is the situation here. He will go to great conversational lengths to avoid possible ‘feeling’ moments.
This is not cowardice, oh no, this is valour. Cowardice is fear of possible consequences, valour is the recognition that consequences exist and are painful.
She speaks of babies. The unthinking transactions that occur when ex’s move into new relationships, the sad burden that children from ended couplings carry, how quest for new delivers pain for those who once held promise. He settles in his seat, feeling wood under buttock, cold spoon in warmed fingers, cake crumbs under elbow to grate. This is the long haul. Will he be spoken of in such ways and days to come? He guesses so. He wants to be, how else are our days counted on this journey of souls schlepping on to death or freedom?
She trills sweetly for moments as her eyes catch his, they speak of moments that have been, could be and were. Those dark eyes lit by light from distance unmeasurable now deflected by glass and time, eyes that he had seen closed during orgasm only to open, unguarded, little girl innocent’ed, wide in unpurpose but joyed. He loves her now, then and from time before this. None of this matters for they will not be together, if they were to be, then history and future hold place. All love needs mythology. Lust has no lasting record; all is in moment.
They are parting, slowly as glacial ice moves to the sea, cracking, dirtying on its journey downward to end. She mentions endings, this in reference to his reticence to acknowledge the pain created between them. He knows feelings, owns them, but in moments such as these desires not to own up to them. Tears may be close but are held in check, for what he knows not, but still, cannot release. For all his growing up, his maturity in emotion, to talk now of them is to admit loss and the purposelessness of chasm he creates between them.
His coffee grows silently colder as she questions by glance his attention, his motive, and attribution of her sentence. Her shoulders, slight in cotton sag, as her tale unfolds, he could raise them, hold them up by making what she wants, so. This he cannot do. Time has moved on, she has moved on, they are no longer whom they once knew. He has changed also, no longer earnest in his needs, twisted by moments unfurled. What once was there between them exists in memories held by them, only. No others can, could, or maybe would want to know.
Other diners supposedly face deep in vegetarian fare and heavy wholesome cake, look over until their eyes are caught. They too cannot openly recognise what invisible lurks at their table. How many times had he, they too eavesdropped from such tables.
A blonde, stick thin and ugly in careerism, castrating her male, he overweight and polyester’ed in loud losers tie, eyes cast down into Darjeeling, as she bollocked him for not standing up to bosses, men, colleagues when they ‘put upon him.’ She strident over bills, impending divorce, shrill in the whispered tones that middle class privately educated pony girls are. That the divorce was theirs and issues over his backbone were to the fore, no doubt.
He had been still to his core then, listening, embarrassed at another male held to ransom by womanhood in some unspoken knowing higher position. Now he stilled himself in this encounter, having no rebuttal for love and logic held by beautiful women. Poignantly more distressing, knowing that silence damned him further but knowing of no escape other than time and distance to resolve issues. Fellow feeling does not help such situations but compounds them.
She talks of him, her care, love and of people held in common regard or disregard. People who will have things to say, intuit and imagineer over this ending, he feels sure that there will be some too who will be glad he will be gone, for men there always is, such is this age of feminine supremacy. Men can be dissected in ways other men would be squeamish to contemplate, power in the tribe eternally is held thus.
He talks of careers, moves, consistency of cake and life, drawing metaphors from the air as he speaks, anything to avoid the vapours that hangs between them. Then he asks, fatally how she is about…
Tears form in the corners he once delicately kissed, they do not fall. Her nose suddenly needs dabbing. Bag opened, tissue sought, dabbed. Oh, those precursors to speech that women surround themselves with, gone for men the days of pipes to fiddle. Cigarettes, snuff and linen lawn ‘kerchiefs. Women ascend with these fripperies, these wiles to beguile as they gather words to ensnare.
He mentions another to break the spell, for moments they talk lightly of this and that, knowing that avoidance can but delay spells once created. Silence resumes, she dabs again, begins to sigh, then speak. She feels badly she tells, about how once they had a love that cut through like a razor, her voice, low now, beautiful in its seduction of his senses and meaning. How their relationship will be transmuted, they will continue in friendship: a different kind of love. He hears a heart coldened in protection, barbed wire to keep him out in case he damages further.
Somewhere behind he hears a meal finished, as chair scrapes back on tile. Hushed voices appreciating what once had been a feast, now laying in scraps and crumbs on plates with knives, forks placed, just so, to establish completion.
He is a lovely bastard she tells, accurate in his truth and jest of their being together, lovely for his artlessness of being, delightfully cruel in accuracy of thrust, how she fears for him in that others do not recognise beauty, seeing, hearing only their own hurt instead of the helping. Nobody before has spoken of him in these ways, tied in tongue, he listens, ears open to drive tears away. How could he reject such love? Placating internally he suggests, It is not a rejecting, more a wind that pushes them, timing ripping what once itself created. He knows that here he encounters love in ways he never has before experienced and never knowing, had not developed grip to grasp. Too trite he accepts, he has waited for so long to be taken from comfort zone, but this rain he cannot soak.
He cannot despise his lack, much as he cannot stop love, cannot continue with what was once here. She stops, alert to him, waves her hands slowly in futility, knowing she has said what was needed, now she, perhaps they can move on to friendship. Somewhere inside, gut, head, deeper? There rises protest, practised as he is in subsuming emotion, he nods and smiles thinly in acquiescence. He knows as he has always known, that it is women who design relationships, they may deny, pretend otherwise, but these strings have never felt male fingers guiding them. Only events to come can judge accuracy of such statements as these.
It is time to leave, cake and salads consumed, chocolate and water drunk, napkins wiped and discarded, they consider a tip, work out percentages, decide against and standing prepare to leave.
“You’re such a lovely sod, I wonder if one day you’ll even write about this?”
Smiling, they leave, entering a louder world of commerce, cars and ignorance of their affairs.

I I wonder where this comes from…

From far off away I’ve come to stand here once more alone. I could not fathom you then and now the effort seems too much to make. I feel your eyes burning into the dark and wonder no more my fear on this blackened journey. Your postcard sits amongst momentoes, junk from other places I’ve been and seen, if I tried I could put my hands to it though the urge has yet to take. Yours to remind me that horror can come dressed in good clothes and pretty manners.
To tell how we met escapes me too, I think work and sufferance of circumstance threw us together. Yours of taking pity on my poverty of expression and life. Me the needing a friend against the rain of woe that was fated in that lacklustre job. I feel so young looking back so far, so low a distance in time, yet so high in cost that I cannot bear long thought you now. I never expected to bear another’s grief though I guess that is motive enough for you.
I painted for you that long summer, make-work for you but food and cheap wine for me. Meeting your friends and relatives seemingly lost in their own thoughts though not shared there. Life gloom is contagious, this I didn’t know then and took the gaiety as true rather than bulwark against long nights. We talked into the small hours of music, politics, art and how philistinism can be good subterfuge to avoid the deluge of those with more money than us. We slept together first as friends and later as slow lovers who fear for their actions but act in good faith to support more than mere acquaintanship. You wanted/decided to take me to Italy. Though my journey was taking me to France, to easy friends and halted journeys by hitch-hike. Instead we rode to Paris by train, meeting more of your friends drinking good expensive wine and food to stretch waistlines. Later to catch the Rome train all couchettes, cigarette smoke and pasty tear faced girls holding love like lepers their bell.
Rome was light, atmosphere and me running away from you, having discovered your lie about your age. I could hang onto the twenty years difference but not the lie, if this unimportant then why the miss? You chasing me through ruins dark with history, shot through by glorious light, slow motion commotion, too hot to create much movement. Catching up with me in bars, sipping frozen beers, wanting to make amends, be friends, siesta together. Back at the hotel looking through a strange comic porno book I’d found in some dark corner, your hands finding me swelling and building more, not wanting to fuck and knowing that all was on offer. We had sex, me in fog of beers, heat and fuzzed images from the magazine. You in need, the wanting of more, sadness that I would be leaving soon and more: the scheming I was yet to discern. Your face escapes, though the mix of sunshine yellow, mud brown and seventies purple hotel wall paper burn as cinders in my memory of parting.
I left Italy in the company of strangers, growing light heart bright with the places to come. You again silent at my going. I loved France with friends, the vineyards, walking to the boulangerie for breakfast baguette’s and the cool space of morning. You were asked after then left alone as I wanted you to be. Time moves us on and I came home to your note asking to see me, hoping to be friends again. I tried the best I could thought to accept less when more had been once freely given bothered you, turned open face to stone. My visits grew less and then no more.
Then, late evening talking to a newer friend, sitting on the floor looking through photographs. The window erupted, a brick, there, in the middle of the floor. You in the street, angry. Demanding entry and time to talk. The newer friend left. You still angry, incoherent about love gone and whatever memories you could dredge to throw. I drove you home hearing suicidal promises, threats to others, to me. You insisting I come in for coffee, conversation, insisting on being heard. Fear surfaced here, I didn’t want to be there, be with you, with this mess, then you tried to pour boiling water on me and that gave enough excuse to leave.
Your postcard arrived five days later. You’d miscarried, the child, a boy you said, immediately christened, named and died. You would be away for some time. I never knew, I still don’t, was this real, part of your plan in Rome? or just a crueller way to punish?
The card lies now amongst memories, I could put hands to it but the will of effort is not there. I carry it amongst sentimental momentoes whenever I move for I never want another like it.