god they moaned at me
‘the world doesn’t owe you a living’
& I didn’t get then
this was their half assed
for bringing me into their world
on a whim
late night thoughtless fuck
not having worked through
what my needs were going to be
in their idea free way of being
& I didn’t get then
they hated me for the making
of them grow the fuck up
tie themselves to the workplace
that’s a lot of shit
to pin on young shoulders
what I really didn’t get then
no child
to take their parents seriously

Rage Ridiculous

On the phone being accused of some crime
by the blonde with the easy legs
cartoon gnashing chipping a front tooth
punching a wall until knuckles bled bad blood
feelings suspended at a friend taking the girl
kicking at rocks sunset beach stubbing toes
wanting love never to leave realising already had
rage ridiculous hurting no one but me each every time
walking off into rain minus the coat plus the red anger
after a friend stole money, things to sell for drugs again
into nowhere but cold hard days of self alone
aware needing to work through this to the end
avoiding rage ridiculous turning to rage murderous

Faded pictures scrapbook

A lipstick stained cigarette left in an overflowing ashtray
smouldering blue on a hotel nightstand early a.m. Spain
as the sun poured light through an open window
filtering through a tall glass of ice vodka & coke
as I lay spent against white cotton Egyptian sheets
eyelashes black, eyebrows shaped, hair colour adjusted
your monthly visit to the hairdresser
as I waited weary patiently in the street
picking you up from the station all cold lovely a vision of black
your long black mane glowing down that thin pale back
wanting rescue from a life gone all wrong before
& too soon leaving me all cold lovely all in black
needing a different rescue from this life all gone wrong
out on the beach outlined against a fine morning mist
hair swept back one hand against head looking to sea
as I took that photo knowing it would not be long
before all of you left me


I’d love to return to
find a way back somehow
of moments with people
in space, time
me, you, us
sitting in the sun on the grass
with no concerns
trying to get somewhere by thumb
my memory fades
on what we spoke of
felt that long day
though I have a book here
says you will love me always
if I could return what would we say
now that we know
this was but a brief friendship
the last time we met
you would not speak
reminded me
you always laughed when I spoke
of life being transitory
some existential dream
& now you are part
of Sartre’s
hell is others

I got called in

had been teaching for some while
I think there’d been some prissy complaints
injudicious use of the f word kind of thing
I could hear them through the door
ok you say this, I’ll say that
I need to cover this policy & you that
lets see if he really is some kind of thug…
it was like kids playing house
sorting out mummy & daddy roles
the door opened & he stood there
smile in place, hand out for shake
I sat & looked them over
they started talking policy this
policy that & I smiled at them
ok what is the real issue here?
that got ‘em all nervous
interrupted their little play
they fumbled a bit got shifty
well, its, er, complaints….
Ok, about what? can you say?
use of the f word he mumbled
oh, ok, it is difficult I do try to stop
my students from using it, but as adults
it is their learning experiences that count?
erm, no he said, its you, you using it…
oh right, well, as I just said we work in a milieu
where people say fuck, either as a descriptor
or as an expressive force word or sometimes
as a way of saying something is bad, awful
well, I, er, y’know, he was fumbling again
I do understand that, it is just that, well, we’ve
had complaints & there is the policy on this
ok, ok, how many complaints?
four he trumpeted
from four different people? I asked
oh, I suppose so, can you check? he gestured
to one of the women who were sitting quietly
she looked at some papers, shuffled them
fidgeted a little then said 3 people, two were from
one person
ok, ok, so three people, I teach four classes of
30+ people, that’s what 2%,
No, less than, but more than 1%
I’d say that was a pretty good record, do we have
a problem here?
I looked at them with expectation
there was fumbling
fidgeting, shuffle of feet, papers
right then, he finally said, we’ve aired our concerns
will you take them on & let’s hear no more eh?
I nodded, took a second
I’m hoping you’ll write to the people concerned
reminding them, nicely of course, that the course
is designed to elicit feelings, emotions
& sometimes these can run strong, wrong words
can be used, words they are not comfortable with
however, this course is designed to help them
help people & sometimes the world they come from
is very different from their own & people use expressions
from that stranger world….?
that stung them, which hadn’t been the full intention
weeeeeell he said, I guess we can say something like that
that’s great, I smiled as I stood, shook all hands,
headed for the door, closed it behind me & paused a second
there was a bit of mumbling then he said: ok,
maybe he’s not a thug but what a cunt….
I shrugged, my work here was done today
& I walked away, smiling yet sad
this was just the first round, now they’d found a way in
they would keep going.

Deep joy

part of the deep joy of being a poet
is that nobody thinks it of you
you are supposed to be fey
a thin white trembling waif with a copy
of spensers faerie queen under a wasting arm
waiting to be killed at Verdun
or moldering in a rotten alcoholic stinking den
living in piss dreamed beds where the squalor
validates all grease penned thoughts
as whores rifle through pockets searching
for pennies, drabs of dope, opium or worse
while you slumber in another pipe dream
we are the shadow people where others
insist their dreams upon us or we perish
in their thin eyes at judgement of our work
take my words is all I ask of your time
but please
save the romantic demise
the starving meme
fading alcoholic frenzy
for another more deserving
of a trite death
I got stuff to do yet

anarcho syndicalists

I loved the syndicalists
lived amongst them for a while
enjoyed the long conversations
on shared power
a new utopia of fun for all
until our pick up band played
a Saturday session in the garden
one soft summers afternoon
& they called the cops
the pigs duly came
the gig stopped
apparently & this was new to me
everybody is free to do what they want
to do
except play not very good music
because the syndicalists will then
be forced to call the fascist forces
of working class oppression
not because they lack the powers
of persuasion in communication
but as an act of deep musical criticism
scratch a libertarian & find a tanky eh?
scratch deeper
closer to the bone
maybe borrow their car late one night
& their ambitions of social justice
are thrown aside as they phone the cops
its ok to want what you have
but theirs is theirs & like any conservative
the police are there to protect property
& apparently
their ears

Every moment

Predators surround us every moment
of every hour in our days
even harder to hold in this recognition
is the truth of the knowing
that they never cease to prey upon us
not suggesting killers stalking here
thankfully the life takers are few
more the sunlight poisoners
the kind that piss on your shoes
& tell you that it is raining
the whiners
you know the crowd:
give me some of what you got’ers
cos I can’t get it for myself
why is your grass so green’ers
these who make a great day less
cause us to cease our daydreams
‘cos eternal vigilance is necessary
against their grasping held out hands
dirty scruffy beggars are at least honest in this
theirs being an open trade
the crowd
pretend to be our friends


I used to think karma was too slow
a little more of the instant kind
but now
I reckon I’m getting the hang
karma comes
when you can do nothing about it
you feeling helpless to do anything
but ride
karma is a bitch they smiled
ah no
divine retribution is a fiercer creature
won’t fight
until all your claws have been filed flat
your strength
resources to stand up afterwards again
are gone
I have no wise words to share here
karma is never done until its done
with you

The English way

full of
children should be seen
& not heard
spare the rod
spoil the child
family hold back
where we wait
until after all else
have eaten
because there is not ever
enough to go round
learning to hold it all in
never let go
give it the 100%
not once
always holding something back
it’s a learned thing
expecting less not more
from bruised times
held to a corner
a part
that can never be reached by another
they tell me
the English why?
we can be cold
but if I’ve given all that I can
within these tight
where are you?