Living in the graveyard

Dostoyevsky

Hunter S

Hemingway

Chekov

Celine

Blake

Solzhenitsyn

& it goes on

I see her looking at the spines

stacked on my bookshelves

it’s like everybody you read

read

is dead she said

muck like who you listen to

Bill Hicks, Lenny Bruce, Lennon

your influences are all in their graves

do you even like anybody alive?

listen to at all?

well, there’s you I say

& rather than defuse the situation

all hell broke loose

apparently

I’m not funny either

Going out

I’m off out with my sis

you wanna come?

& all I could do was say no

barely lifting my head

she’d worn me down again

insisting I be involved in some dispute

over what seemed to me to be

nothing

with her & her family

who to be scrupulously fair

were decent people to me

just all this infighting

tears a man down

with the intricacies

of he said

she said & then I saids

you staying in?

I doubt it my response

& she was gone

some time later mick turned up

What’choo got to add in?

I got a couple of six packs

some vodka, snacks

fishing rods, bait

& a spot down by the pier

I can park there

& we can see if the worms drown

It’s hard to say no to that

& we go down to the pier

sit dangling a line

into the silence

of a long starry night

the occasional grunt

as the line loses slack

but for the waves

building the beach

taking it away again

he dropped me off about ten

the next morning

didja catch anything?

that was that no good mate of yours

mick wasn’t it?

yeah I drawl, lazy slow & tired

that man is always

good for nothing

as

in the background she begins

the & I said, then she said

as I feel my head starting to loll

again

Not that great

there are great studs

& then there are the inventive lovers

I’m hearing all this from her in full flow

though I suspect the level low

there in the bottle beside her

is the greater wisdom at play here

& then there is you

you ain’t that good if I’m honest

sure your approach is all there

make ‘em laugh

keep yourself aloof

but lover

when it comes to giving it everything

you just ain’t there prepared to commit

& i wanted to feel you freely pony up all of you

when it comes to being inside of me

& when you’re done you’re done

it’s that time i want to hear the nice things

not your snores distance other side of the bed

& with that she tops up her glass

sips away looking me straight in the face

& don’t get me wrong I’m good with honesty

I’m just not sure this sermon will hold

until tomorrows cold light of day

& not that I don’t suspect what she says is true

but with lovers like this needing the juice

a man needs to hold something back not letting go

you never know when these will just let loose

the explosions of glass fire in the hold

shattering of windows wardrobes smouldering

loose nooses made of laddered pantyhose

ok, ok, I say, well, thank you for all of that

it is appreciated your handing over information

that a man can use to better himself….

as her eyes close she starts slipping down the chair

I find a blanket put it over pulling her legs up to rest

I may not be the worlds bestest lover

but I do do my bit to show willing & care

as I sit a while longer cursing this gift of memory

wishing I was one of those who could let it all go

then maybe eh I could just let fly

into some new tomorrow

Young girls

beware the young girls

for they will kill you

with their innocence & love

she was checking my record collection

the words, like, cool, wow

passing her pretty lips

can we play this?

she asked

holding a vinyl copy of gimme shelter

I’d bought some time ago

I first heard this at my school prom

thought it was great

I played it through for her

then carefully put it back in its sleeve

telling her the story of how Keef wrote this

& the why

of Mick & Anita filming

getting close

oh, wow,

she cried

you know all the best stories

I’d love it if you came to my party

played some of these old time records

my friends would love it

they’ve never heard of most of ‘em

you must have spent ages finding them

& I hadn’t the heart to tell

how most of these I’d bought new

as & when they came out

instead I promised her

a cd mixtape of the best songs

& gracefully as I could

declined the offer to be at her party

saying I had another thing to do that night

but really I hadn’t the heart

to sit among the youth

telling tales of how it was

back in the olden days

Jealous moods

late in the saturday night

we’d all been out

except her

staying home for the babies

& she was pissed we were there

in the way of her beauty sleep

again

he was playing songs for her

but any interest she had in him

was gone

he was using others words in songs

to try & express

he loved her

but had lost his way

& all she wanted was peace

all of us gone, rest, another day

yet he he kept on playing

hoping to find

some way through

we were making noises to go

our own homes waiting cold

while he played on

stay a while he said

& we stayed

staving off the row

we knew was coming between them

again

No courses

Look, I said, I’m trying

just doing my best here

yeah, I know, she sneered

& that just ain’t good enough…

which leaves no place to go to

but sit in silence

refuse to think of snappy comebacks

stare at the paper on the floor

advertising night courses

cheap at the local college

& I’m looking at welding

lessons in Art

& she’s at my shoulder

what’cha looking at there?

I got a course in mind for you

mebbe something to do with love

& I look deeper like I’m interested

here, I say, look there

they got one just for you

beginners course in manners, respect

& she leans in to see

then realises

it’s a goof

they got one on treating women right?

yeah, I go, hang on, I’ll get my coat

time to go sign up

& finally her mouth shuts

opens, hangs wide

as I shut the door

Baby sailors

A thousand plus of us

behind high fences

learning our trades

how to live together in tight spaces

looking out for ourselves, others

I don’t need to spell it was hell

a thousand boys aged 15-16

fighting each other to stop from being

bottom of the pile

after three months they gave us leave

& I made the long journey

to what was called home

my room had been repainted

my books were gone

all kiddy toys given away

my steam train rusty in the rain

they had forgotten I was coming

were off out for dinner

dragged me along too

& over that meal took a third of my pay

towards my keep as I was earning y’know

while complaining about the need

for more notice should I return again

I took to the road finding happier places

rough sleeping in hedgerows

taking whatever love came my way

a sailor takes what he can when he can

finding shelter from the rains

all ports are shelters in storms

home becomes where you create it

always the next place further on

Take it all

he said to me late one night

we were road men

moving from place to place to another

do everything you can

as much as you can

as long as you can

don’t hesitate just take

whatever comes your way

we were sharing a coffee

under the harsh light truck stops have

to deter hijackers & thieves

if you see any chance

you gotta take it

because age will rob you

of opportunity

the availability of those

whose time it is to play today

there will come a time when the crowd

no longer glances in your direction

& the time will come too

when the will to do

the joy of living in itself fades

but not today eh?

& he was gone

jumping the queue

of riders waiting in the long night

for their rides

into

tomorrow

So many prisons

I can’t say when it was

but I know I wasn’t young

when I was able to be

& not have to respond

to anothers emotions

this is you

& this is me

we were side by side

but your moods

do not have to affect me

& that was an out of prison moment

I was free

to feel the wind & sun on my face

destiny

there have been moments of recidivism

the walls are yet to fall completely down

but we are on our way

definitely