grinder

you grind along

not a statement more the accusation

you grind along keep on going

& like any creature stuck in its tracks

I had no idea on how to respond

I wanna fly she said not this grind

she was setting up her way out

& I knew too it wouldn’t take long

is all I know I say trying not to whine

this has been my life thru’ the ages

is the fate of my people all my kind

we grind we grind we grind hoping

against hope all this pays out more

than subsistence over longest times

the grind to stop the payoff happens

& then comes our time in the sun

but if you got something better baby

show me how stop this ever grind

but she never did y’know they never do

& now I hear she’s working some dull job

convinced herself helping the world to try

I guess this dry as dust ethos is catching

we grind we grind we grind

hoping against hope

this pays out

until we get our time in the sun

c’mere baby

I’d get in half six in the a.m.

after doing things I’d prefer not to

but all that paid the rent

the many other things a man needs

& she’d wriggle over

give me some of her warmth

before she went off to work

we were living for the weekend

something we’d promised ourselves

the life that we would never do

& some Saturday nights we’d go out

or early she’d whisper c’mere baby

& that meant we’d never go out

at all

I’d lay there afterwards empty

as a man ever gets

not thinking of the half six a.m. Monday

the things a man has to do

to pay the monthly rent

just lying back beside his best girl

blowing smoke sipping beers

the world at rest

content

turn blue

the air turns cooler

& I think of you

as my hands turn blue

wondering if you too

are standing somewhere

nose lifted catching the air

damp of rusty leaves underfoot

would you care now to take a look

notice the seasons change

to catch see in your face more age

I’d prefer to think of you as then

you to mind me as a younger man

& the rain lifts goes away

my nostalgia rises no time to play

such is my sweet autumn seasons

drifting thoughts forever pleasing

& you are gone forever on the wind

Jah Rastafari

dread told me early

you

are part of the walking tribe

was as far as he could say

before the smoke took him

further away

& though these were not

part of my belief system

the interest to hear was there

& I am a walker

if others have not walked

away from me

finding solace strong answers

amongst the tree tracks

meander of silver rivers

step for step breath

to attain the mountain peaks

& as he spoke

there amongst the smoke

Jah is there everywhere

you just need

to stop look listen hear

feel the peace walking brings

to your people

routine becomes a thing

if you don’t pay attention enough

it

had become a thing we did

mine for the needs I had

& her?

well

I was never sure

to be straight

she’d never been that happy

much into the whole

dark & dirty business

refused conversations

somehow expected nature

to find fill its boots

we had a routine

work dinner some drinks

tumble into bed

fumble some & sleep

until one night I left the light on

& that exceeded expectations some

caused conniptions

accusations of strange

& it is in those moments

you realize after this

things will never

be the same

what had been love

had become

just another four letter word

like

work

have you got it yet?

everything was in your head

& all you needed to do

was to stop

& maybe look clear at me

but your madness of feelings

pushed me away

I couldn’t be defending the things

were nothing to do with me

how I remember you best

captures what I want to say best:

coming for dinner at your house

your new fella on tumba congas

drumming me away

& you couldn’t hear my knocking

on your door

fresh flowers for the hostess

wilting as I left shaking my head

all over again

dancing in the park

the old fella

doing the moves

in those kung fu shoes

tai chi with the ladies

talking later

on zen enlightenment:

fetch water

sweep the room

& we got to meet again

when I dropped in

to the black cat café

there he was

zipping between the customers

black tray held high

in the same kung fu shoes

you work here? I asked

thought you were a tai chi teacher?

oh yes he says I teach that

is my passion my thing

here pays my gas bill

landlord for my rooms

y’know: fetch the water

push the broom

he grinned at that

& lifting the tray

set off around the room

roads fields the sky & stars

roaming the night

everywhere was ours

the roads fields the sky & stars

out way beyond midnight

while the sleepers slept

we were alive with all

the possibilities

riding between towns cities

villages of dark houses

stopping anywhere to talk

smoke some more

drink whatever was to hand

playing music loud non stop

anything new we had to share

the world belonged to us

& all we had to do

was be in it

own every second

until those first fingers of light

& the day people came

to reclaim it

shoulder to shoulder

one of those

had that academic

gentle way of sneering

that I didn’t know what

I was talking about

of course I sized him up

thinking a long throw

into that soft underbelly

& a knee to the head

as he crumpled up

would do the job proper

but I was in his world

& that kind of behavior

is frowned upon

yet

his condescension was not

no matter

I offered to take him

& his entourage

anybody he might

feel necessary to take with

into my world

& there maybe

he could check his perceptions

against mine

that the working class

were the salt of the earth

with fellow feeling to the fore

shoulder to shoulder

against the capitalist overlords…

indoor

mine is an indoors culture

with

speaking in quieter voices

etiquette & manners

to be shown

& as much as I tried

to fight against this

I was brought inside

examined

made to understand

if I wanted a future

I had to go along

& the bit I never

quite understand

is

that as a child

I was pushed outside

to play