I don’t trust them
these cold fish making judgements
will say they have never
wrapped hands around a neck
killed in their dreams
had waking fantasies
in oh so many
satisfying ways
give me a man, woman
has cried deep in the night
beating their fists raw on the wall
over a lover who left
without explanation
backward looks
I count the silver once they have left
my fingers after a handshake
check my body for bruises
in case I missed a moment
as they droused me to sleep
with their sensible conversations
deadened lives of order
in case they slipped a low blow
sneaky kidney punch in
these silent grey fellows
who would have you think
butter would not melt
trust me on this
they still got shit
that stinks
but its hidden way out of reach
& they work sly
too hard to keep it
that way

Oh I still get caught

Oh I still get caught
Hippy girl in Williams Ariz.
got me when buying rabbit furs
dipped her hand to her lap
came up with a one
said this is all you gave me
wide eyed & innocent
& ripping her head seems overmuch
when she needed a well played
snag tooth Spanish woman
on the border early morning
Hendaye ‘tween france & spain
said ‘scuse me sir, I need more
the ten I gave had become a five
& ripping her head seems overmuch
when she needed a well played
oh I still get caught
& you’d think
after the years of hanging rough
with players & ne’er do wells
I’d have these games sussed
oh they will still catch you
looking for the tired eye
a moments inattention
distraction by another
in this grifter way of life
the ones who get me
whose heads I cannot rip
are the bankers
getting fat at my expense
& the smug smile that seems to say
look at me get rich
new car
new clothes
well played bitch

lose the ego

Lose the ego he said
you’ll live longer
& I can’t help but
recognise the truth
of all that
ego will cause you
more ass whuppings
lonely nights
bruised feelings
than any tough with good arms
what else makes you want
good looking women
better than others?
& all of these will
cause you troubles
especially the good looking women
it’s a high maintenance game
& that is just when you love them
when that stops
watch out
I call him
say hows the no ego thing
I’m in the middle of a three month
world cruise
he riffs
they love us here
nothing is too much fuss
we dress for dinner
visit new countries
every other day
having a ball
& you?
I’ve let all that go
I say
got the ego down
to the size
of a pea
oh do fuck off he said
I’m guessing he’s still
got work
to do
on his ego

good friends

Finding good friends
is never easy
those who will say no
for good reasons
not their own
will call you out
when that is needed
not for a dud day
mine told me I should take
six months off’f the women
I’d been failing at that
for some long time
a string of married women
one after the other
who loved to be with me
I called them doves
well fed
as they
always returned home
my friend spoke with respect
it was hard to hear the call
but I did
refusing encounters became
my thing
& thinking
gave me time
reflection on
the distance
between who I had become
where I’d started from
not gonna tack a happy ending
on here
but there was one


In an old worn pocket
of a coat lost by time
I find two cards
from twenty years ago
an invitation
admit one to the boathouse
for a pre season drinks party
which of itself sounds
just mighty grand
it was a little bit at odds with that
there being five plastic buckets
of said cocktails
ladled out into a halfpint glass
while we did the rounds
emphasis was on drinks
so we did
I remember
stumbling along the promenade
happy as a man full of cocktails
can be
at one a.m.
the other
is for Marian
her business card
as an antique kilim restorer
using ‘fine matched wools’
with a blockwood print
of said kilim on it
& you wonder
where Marian is
whether her skills picked up
wandering the east
garnered her a fortune
in a southern English city
the last I remember of her
was of breaking Roly’s heart
it was time for her to move on
she had reached the end of them
there is a phone number
I am afraid to call it
the picture I have of them here
is sufficient.

& you wonder

Just what is it they do?
those little boxes lit by harshlight
looking in through the window
ants making look busy shapes
some taking self important phone calls
others madly intent on bits of paper
like as a child looking through the parent gap
while asking; is jim in?
seeing different shapes of furniture
odder funkier brighter smells than home
fathers sat in chairs reading doing other
figures heading to motel rooms
late at night crabbed under load
doors slammed to what?
just what is it that they do
in these rooms
separated from each other
by glass concrete stud walls?
while we watch from out here

living on love

I was living on love
it was pretty much all I could find
between rooms with beds
not always mine
waiting to eat
became a hobby
always pastime
how I survived I don’t know
maybe the thin hold charm
to those with a little to give
walking across the city
in the early hours
this dark world is alive
in ways you don’t know
when you have nowhere
somebody always wants a piece
when your pockets are empty
its all you have to give
warm rooms kept me going
whose names they were
escape me now
those ladies with their needs
holding on to me with mine
gripping against the light
that could only bring less
to our doors
my head only had noise
a struggle to think
I could keep a job
sometimes a month
before the walls closed in
those places
have someone
needs validation
by their work
no inner place of self
they either jump on you
or you have to jump on them
& the noise grows
as they try
to make that happen
seems a better place
than jail
allowing that to happen
and I found I could live on love
finding women with needs
to match mine
until they got noisy too


It was December
all the time in my early teens
we’d rowed again
my parents & me
not a misunderstanding
it was an oh too much understanding
I was not like them
this hungry cuckoo bird in the nest
they talked so much of responsibility
while evidencing little
my mistakes
were for scrutiny
not so much
at all
so I left
nowhere to go
but stay seemed impossible
slept on a pile of bricks
under a plastic liner
no sleeping bag
& my brain froze
would not let me sleep
which was very probably a good thing
to keep me alive
& I learned
the best way to be invisible
is to show
your need
do that & the crowd
will walk right on by
while having conversations about care
social responsibility
& their love of charity
in front of you
they too are frozen


they care now
saw some programme on tv
about this dead pop star
in all the time we’ve known each other
close on 3 decades
he has never been mentioned
but now
they saw
some programme on tv
pierced the veil of understanding
being selected personal details
about the guys life in a 1 hour show
underneath the glitter was brittle
vulnerable in a way they could understand
all presented with sad music
interviews with friends
all with a need to be seen as good people
in the way of care for others
save us o lord
save us father figure in the sky
from these demons of tv
this grafted disease
of have to be taught to care
in a crafted 60 minute show
there was little mention
of his blacklisting from the station
that owned the team
who made the show
for his politics
for that
is speaking ill of the dead
those of us who had followed
his twists & turns on the way
felt this a betrayal
an incomplete picture
of the better man
for such is tv

I’ve had orgasms

cleansed my soul
made we wonder
made me weep
made me sleep
dropped me off a cliff
made me wonder why I bothered
I’ve had to fake to get it over with
needed a mirror so’s not to be alone
needed trees & forest
needed you to be awake
laughter did help
giggles didn’t help any of us
were unexpected
failed expectations
you said weren’t enough
I felt failed any scoring system
pulled me inside out
had me scared might never happen again
But did