reading the small ads:

man developing anima

seeks woman

developing animus

& after that erudite

if brief proposition

to think: what could go wrong?

this implies a certain Jungian sophistication

in understanding the world

a man becoming in touch with his inner female

seeking

a woman becoming in touch with her inner male

both possibly seeking balance

with themselves & with another

some thoughtful heterosexual liaison

but can eros flourish there?

is love that thoughtful

or based on deeper red raw feelings

blunt lust in the purple carnal pull of the unknown

other

our chafed innate fierce instincts over cold intellect?

& underneath that ad another:

man 32 seeks woman 20’s/30’s

must have own teeth & truck

no haters please

now there is a man

who recognises

knows clearly what he wants

bless my arrogance

call it naiveté if you prefer

the times I thought

stronger; mebbe felt

I could be the one

make them whole

alongside too that of me

I’d be enough for her

she’d be more than enough

to take all I had to give

& then

they run off with your friends

kill any love with insanity

needing more than mind

every second of precious time

wanting what is inside your head

on a pretext of will to share

& nothing of the time in bed

fixes much of anything

except passing needs

so we end up as exes

no care to give anymore

moving on to the next encounter

the next take what you can

& move on

zeds’s dead baby

why’d you ride that made up thing?

& it’s a question most folk don’t ask

never thinking

of the why ride that chopper

but more of the why ride at all?

I look him over for a second

he’s asking in all earnest seriousness

young fella in his twenties

ok I say, see that Honda there?

go sniff it, take a look at it

tell me what you see

& he looks over it carefully

it’s a universal Japanese four

will do exactly what it should

start, go at a fast pace

stop on a dime perfection

& smells like?

I can’t smell nothin’ he says

ok, now smell this

& he sniffs, puzzled at first

kinda hot oil, petrol

& burnt stuff thing?

yeah that’s the devil part I smile

now this needs riding

needs thinking about

I get him to sit in it

there’s the difference right there

in it not on it

stretch for the bars

feel where the brake pedal is

feels kinda awkward he says

yeah, you’re getting it

this’un requires thought

to start, getting going

& to stop

no suspension to ease the ride

feeling the road at all times

as choppers can always go wrong

y’gotta stay alert

or….

& he smiles

he gets it

sniffing the hot oil, petrol

& those other devil burnt things

little thought

I did the labouring thing

working hard to earn money that went nowhere

do a couple of hours free for us

see if we like you shit work thing

waiting tables, cooking grease, emptying cans

& saw blind

what a con that was

so I lived broke for a while

but got to smell the trees

lie on the long grass

as my belly ached in the sun

people would say I was just lazy

but I really couldn’t see their point

& only when

I hit the real rock bottom

did I find a way out

back to school

hitting the books

on to the kind of work where the hands stay soft

good enough pay goes straight into the bank

& there is enough to live on

people listened when they spoke

which isn’t to say

it was all straight

there were folks still pulling cons

sliding around out back

while saying one thing out front

& they sniff you from time to time

trying to spot the phony they know

from their own being

hiding in the front row

these I think are the lazy people

never deviating from their easy path

laid out straight lines from school to work

little thought on the way

again

the door has slammed

again

she has gone through it at speed

again

& I have been carefully informed at high volume

that I am NOT the easiest person in the world

to live with

ag-well, you got the picture

which is odd as I don’t exist to live my days

in some modern interpretative dance form

I try to scrape by with little intent north or south

of a rolling median of easy attitude & soft smile

though I find as a darker complected dude

people will happily place blacker motives upon me

find some way to make a gentle humor comment

a bubbling cauldron of simmering evil intent

full of snark bitten satanic reference or hate

anyway

the door has slammed

again

& now I can contemplate the single silence

stalking around this simple furnished shushed room

finish reading the novel I started a week ago

maybe make a coffee eat the cake baked yesterday

or just say

ah fuck it

open a beer

sit here

& let the muse stride on in

again

sad sack sorry drama

you act like you got answers

he says

eyeing me like a mad dog

on a hot morning

well, I got this problem

can’ya tell me what to do?

& he outlines his shit

caused by the usual people fuckery

she said, I said & then we…

& I don’t want to get involved

as his watery eyes scan my face

for red clues or some thin ideas

& he will want me later

to make clear recommendations

even though he will not tell

the true whole story just yet

I must make some comment

before he goes: ah, oh yes, but

& only then will add in

the next details

important unfortunate acts that occurred

& the ones after that come slow too

until late in the story we get to full fat truth

the least flattering version yet

he might say out loud to me

you act like you got answers

but we both know

he’s blowing smoke just to keep talking

keep something in play

cos he ain’t seeking nothing to use

end the sad sack sorry drama

today

The Ranters

a genial man

could speak fluent mediaeval middle English

tracing back the origin of words

the rise of Norse, German, French or Danish

& we

we were The Ranters

meeting every few months to rant our latest lines

sink a few drinks

& listen to the others as best we could

under those circumstances

oh, & bang away at instruments

should the need arise or be part of the act

the genial man taught English literature

at the local university

though none of us were sure why he was there

& while he had no stanzas

lines of his own to offer

he did seem to listen intently enough

tapping knees to make sense of the bars

& sweetly we felt, tried to make sense

of whatever verses we had

we were not there to perform for him

but as ever, each other, ourselves

& any other stray audience that may have stumbled in

from time to time he’d say ‘marvellous’

with the occasional ‘tremendous’

‘peasant poetry’ needed a little more effort to take

though there was little doubt

we were included within the proletariat

& by the end of those long nights

very possibly lumpen proletariat to boot

we were pleased to see the back of him

having no profundities of his own to share

no intentions of giving of self

in any contest or wordsmith compare

the words of the great & good of English lit.

so we picked up our papers

tidied our tiny dirt lot

& beaming at each other for the fun given

went off to the pub

if you are looking for a sign

for a reason to stay alive tonight

this may

might not be it

there were times I too

did not want the next day

tried to find the ways

to make that not happen

there are always pills

hills

cliffs to fall from

bags on the head

& the noose is a one-time only

non friend

though they promise

to bring the pain to an end

the point is

that living itself is painful

& people act like that is not true

but you

feel it every second

minute of the day

because you have yet to find

the thing

something

to numb the pain away

that almost

everyone else has found

& all that stops you

is you

getting in your own way

you haven’t failed

yet

& all I can ask is that you learn to fail large

at love maybe

painting, writing, juggling, graffiti

any damn thing you thing you can’t do

do it but fail majestically eh?

with the drugs, booze, gambling, women

choose & fail the best you can ever fail

do something that makes you smile

even if it is just the once

& be really shit at it

be the failed hero

to make us notice your failure

rather than be the quiet damp squib

in the night

make us sit up to you in your trying

rather than the giving up

everyday would kill you

to feel the leaf in front of your eyes

loaded with green

saccharine & chlorophyll

your connection with it

the rest of the meadow linked in vibrations

holding your body up against the sun

to live

drink in the healing

freely given

exchanged on the path

as the birds sing of the wind

fruit trees ready to give

love available all the time

& the reds

zooming in on flower stems

seeing clear the sap rising

oxygen exchange on the leaf

preparing pollen& nectar

for the bees humming their work songs

& knowing your place

part in all of this

the sun will fall tonight

rise again tomorrow

taking energy to all the peoples

around our pulsing globe

you are connected to

in this living breathing human be-ing

& after a while all of this

& more

will fade as your system clears the drug

to leave you wiser

possibly more in touch

for now you know

what you see every day is but a taste

of the paradise on offer

yet

to see this all the time

will kill you with too much

waiting for a wreck

waiting for a wreck

as kids

we’d be watching

planes trail across the sky

& someone’d say

supposin’ just supposin’

that was to drop down right here

crash into the ground

& we’d be wide eyed in wonder

would there be dead bodies?

everything on fire?

would there be loot?

guns?

cigarettes & booze?

not understanding

what dead bodies really meant

& I’d like to think

we grew out of all of that

but now when I see cars

ahead of me

slowing on the highway

necks twisted to better see

or I shamble by

look through the windows

see ‘em staring

at the news on their TV’s

I’m not sure I believe