it’d be nice to say

I hold no regrets

secrets

residual guilt

for wilful misdeeds

but of course

very few of us get to be that

maybe a beatified nun or two

the much never seen

sainted monk keeping his bees

& nose clean

but we are not like them

being messier people

growing up slow

if at all

with so very much on offer

without second thought

mindful of our others

so now we live

with our tainted knowledge

profane things we’ve achieved

possibly should not have done

things said

some left to silence

elided or hidden

diverted from

& hopefully all will

go to the grave

with me, us

along with this

innocent face

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the librarian

was never like in the movies

glasses off

quick flick of the hair

& beauty unfolds

I guess she thought I was

some pretentious prick

snot nosed small town kid

taking out six books a day

not knowing I was reading

to escape the hell of home

needing refuge

from vicious peasants

who felt hate as the only passion

she’d arch her eyes each day

as I’d bring ‘em back

you?

reading Hunter Thompson?

& social science?

in my bored way

I’d say:

pick a book, pick any page

& she’d thumb through

page thirty:

‘take a good rest, small bird’

& I’d say Hemingway

The Old man & the sea

she’d snort

not quite knowing what was happening

flare those ancient nostrils

stamp the books back in stock

& I’d go find some more escape

for today

necked in lace

never that I didn’t love

I just didn’t love enough

walking holding hands in the sun

talking of nothing

& everything that mattered today

to go home later

eat, drink, do the sins

in my big saggy old bed

to get up in the morning

worn out but happy with that

go off to do the work thing

thinking of her

doing the dishes

cleaning up the place

that beautiful body

see through summer dresses

panties necked in lace

wanting to be there

never in here crushed by the hours

making it home

finding her gone

no note no nothing

chasing around town

another wasted love

it wasn’t I didn’t care

I just didn’t feel enough

is what they’d say

in late night phone calls

chilling further my blood

fearing to invest again

set to throw stones

& you won’t see me

throwing the stones

not the first or last

the ones in between

I come from a long line

my people be sinners

& while that makes us hell bound

we get to be free

of pointing the finger

at others no better than we

it’s a happy band of brothers

& sisters of the sin

that’s bigger than you’d know it

because though most folk

won’t accept to be in

we know we don’t stand alone

is why we don’t point fingers

set to throw stones…

little splodges

she was a decent enough woman

I’d stay over at hers

if we had a night out

stop in the spare room

big enough bed & duvet

& there’d be a towel there

ready for the morning

as I’d drag my hungover head

out into the shower & go

but I didn’t like the towels

they had these little splodges

a browny blot on the background

a man notices these things

when his head is aching from the night before

& I’d forget between visits

then one night before we went off

she was struggling to put her boots on

I got these little arms she said

can’t quite reach important bits

so I helped her with her feet

& sometime later I made a connection

between short arms

important places

& splodges on towels

& couldn’t bring myself to shower there

anymore

after that

then much later

another night out with friends

we were in conversation

& the ladies talk turned to make up

& she confided that she couldn’t get

foundation stains out of towels….

no matter how hot the wash

though the times

she put ‘em through the laundry

yeah I felt like a shit

a lousy friend

a splodge on her towels

watch out

for the women

for they will love you

make you care

appreciate the gift

ask questions of you

in the long nights

after the first flush of heat

& lust

they will feed you

everything they can

& more

slow seeping poisons

that echo

killing off the passions once held

pushing togetherness outside

& she

will be there

morning

noon & night

& that of itself

is enough

to drive any man insane

being hard as it is

to live with yourself

all these years

watch out for the women

my friends

for they will love you

more than you love yourself

& worse

they can

& will

take all of that

away

daemons

they follow me now

from the goodwill

thrift charity stores

when all I’m looking for

is a cut price shirt

pearlised buttons western cut

or a cheap coat for a cold day

& now I must stop

check my shoulders

look to close them down

the plaintives completely lost

granny wanting to find

her daughter gone somewhere

that ever wayward son

I would help them if I could

in their lonely quests

instead they trouble me in my sleep

directing dreams to shady areas

in vain attempt to communicate

so I must stand in the street

check for shadows on my shoulders

cleanse down looking the fool

to passing strangers

in some st vitus wobble dance

for if not

these would trouble like daemons

I must lead them toward that light

we must all in the end find

so be careful my beauties

in the home of the second hand chic

that cheap shirt may contain more

than you bargained for

a weary seeker

wishing to remain

to come home with you

fill your mind with sorrows

your mind theirs to trouble & gain