Supermarche stank

French local supermarche

early in the am

have that peculiar stank

& at first

I thought mebbe

it’s the cheeses

those strange half wood boxes

round shallow

full of squidgy stuffs

mebbe it’s the local fruits

potatoes covered in dark earth

but no

the truth as ever

always more prosaic

the staff use the toilettes early

before the public come in

I saw this through the windows

nose pressed against the glass

one morning with the dawn

as I waited to buy

my pain de raisin & chocolat

tho’ my appetite

dwindled some

as I waited

the hook set in early & deep

on a weekday lunch time

skipping school

sitting listening to new sounds

in friends’ houses

while their parents were at work

excited to be invited

feeling slightly hungry & buzzed

to the beats of tamla

then came ska

reggae

& coming from a family

hated black music

this was heresy in so many ways

I’d try to sneak in albums at home

lying on the floor sound turned low

trying to record them

building a collection for later

these were thrown out when found

with lectures on depravity as punishment

& I started all over again

finding better hiding places

music back then seemed to scare older people

believing records played backwards

had messages from the devil

could make us kids do bad things

reject their authority fight their ways

& all this to us was only

great music sounds that lifted

made us want to dance feel alive

create that special sense

we knew something the elders didn’t

to have our own place in the world

each time

I always wanted to travel

be gone

somewhere else than here

& yet

each time before I go

I need to sit & think

not just the

have I got?

thing

more the

supposin’ I never come back

have I left order

for those left behind

the things hidden need be hidden

from those left behind

& I know

anticipation nerves

are but part of excitement

wanting to find something

elsewhere

to stop me

from ever

coming back

we were lovers

some long time ago

she never refers to this

so I don’t either

thinking

perhaps she has forgotten

maybe

I was a lousy rotten lover

& there is no point

in raking cold coals

if you don’t want

to start another fire

now

she is telling me of another

who gently took her clothes off

& gasped at her beauty

I of course had never done this

but then I hold no memory

of her tenderly undressing me

& letting out any exclamation

whatsoever

before you even begin

there was some report

I was reading

my thoughts really elsewhere

one of those things everywhere

on the internet scrolling through

about rats & how they go on or give up

rats given trauma early on give up

while those fed content given good stimuli

go on & on to achieve

& you wonder what sick fuck

devises trauma discontent torment for rats

just what was the job description?

& of course there is the parallel

between how we treat our poor

give more to the well fed contented

but I gave up  on

reading all about it

rag boooooooone!

a cry heard in the neighborhood

about once a month from

the old man on his horse drawn cart

& we kids would panic every time

searching for tin cans old metal old clothes

while our mothers would just scream no!

as we’d drag out old saucepans clothes

empty cupboards cobwebbed drawers

the rag bone was a scary fella to us

holding riches if approached right

an old iron bedstead

would get a bow & an arrow

stolen bag of clothes

a red or yellow goldfish in a plastic bag

while we’d watch in awe

these transactions taking place over our heads

watching wary the horse feared to bit

the whip there by the old mans boot

& he’d be gone with his bits & pieces

on the wooden flat bed of his clanking cart

as we stood admiring in envy the arrow bow

the goldfish leaking into the street

I followed him once from a distance

to a wooden garage lock up

peeking through the gap between the doors

wanting piles of bows arrows goldfish in tanks

but saw only rags piling up lost riches sad forlorn

& then he never came back again rag boooone!

such anachronisms defeated by modernity

to return no more

I never loved you

though I love you still

we were lovers such a short while

changing that for friendship

but still

that lasted longer

than some encounters ever do

& now you’ve gone beyond me

no more letters emails

calls out of the blue

there were very few understood this

how I fell out of love with you

but keeping in touch over the years

this old friend here again beside you

& now you’ve gone beyond me

as in the end

all of us do

& if I had one more minute

to tell the truth

I think you’d know

I was always in love with you

 

for Pamela Peace RIP

it’s a long list

that I cannot find the time

put pen to paper

write your names on the line

oh my loves

how you let me down

leaving me in times of need

left me standing there

my feet dangling empty air

kicking at nothing

oh my loves

how you let me down

waiting at the gate

standing wistful best clothes on

I looked around

& you were not there

already gone

oh my loves

how you let me down

ready for the race

listening for the starters gun

first up in the relay

you to pass the baton

already going for home

oh my loves

how you let me down

printed in glossy covers

I try & read the greats

Hem caught me young as did Hunter

Auden Larkin Eliot Cummings all found my ear

but there was a huge drop off after that

so many get their English lit degree

went to all the best schools learn meter

the whys & wherefores how to rhyme

& they get printed in glossy covers

handmade papers handbound & all that

I try my best working to get the man

the woman to understand as far I can

however I find them cold the book on the floor

in the a.m. where it fell out of my grasp asleep

unable to find the love exquisite pain gut wrench

that being brings to the poet living in the world

maybe it is the dull of lectures reflected from

tenured professors no longer out in the cold

love refracted through the prism of academe

removed from working to eat pay the rent

& all seems detached lofty riding the thermals

from the heat of us animals under looking to live

oh it goes

but why oh why lord

must it take so long

born poor is a stubborn stain

lurking in the shadow on the floor

& working doesn’t come easy

when your stomach growls

ribs stick through your jacket

& the foreman always wants more

you have to get up early

beat the sun get in the lines

not looking for handouts only time

take this job then the next

leveraging up the pay more hours

always searching for better money

& who cares if it doesn’t last?

not you anybody looking in

the holes in my raincoat

the constant there to remind

poverty is a stubborn stain

lurking there outside the door

leaving its imprint on the psyche

even if the money does come in

life gets easier once more

& scrubbing out its memories

only cleans the shadow

there on the floor