I want to be walking

somewhere strange away from it all

not here clustered staring at thin walls

roads with no ditches fences with nails

sun beating my head until sense prevails

walking into sunsets colours of reds

out of my thinking out of this bed

towards a higher new day tomorrow

brighter lighter end of old cold sorrows

but I’m here nailed fast to the floor

by older thinking shying from the door

only me keeping me here not turning the key

I’d go there that somewhere tho’ I’d still be me

can I please be you or you? set me free

I want to be walking under an azure sky

noticing the plants trees smells scents passing by

where the dog of sadness will leave my heels

for love to somehow take me make me feel real

& until then I will feel these walls

come closing in

until then

always

my old man learned early

play your cards close to your chest

let others fill in the gaps

he wasn’t much concerned

in how you felt about that

or fussed if you felt him cold distant

if he cared for you he’d do stuff for you

decorate fix your car clear the driveway

there were times he would be emotional

but nobody wanted any of that

he’d explode into fierce words

fast fists to quell opposition

& that as a kid was beyond frightening

no doubt the reason why his first wife

my mother left him flat for another man

I was only a toddler when one night

I heard noises downstairs went to see

she was standing by the window trembling

he was shouting loud straight standing over

get me the poker! she said to me eyes wide

he’s going to hit me! I got the fire poker

a heavy line of iron dragged it to her

he looked at me with those wild eyes

as I stood in front of her & I will never know

if he remembered that but I felt always he never forgave

no sense of humor the germans

it is said the Germans have no sense of humor

it was late afternoon late summer

I’d finished with the group I’d been working with

& one kindly found me a room over a bar

dropped me off in the Altplatz Dusseldorf

I sat for a while on the great steps watching the barges

huge long boats carrying ? up & down this immense river

then slowly made my way back to the bar

sitting I looked over the row of pumps

decided to work my way along them sample as many as I could

ein bier bitte  I asked as I tapped the pump furthest away

& a small black beer arrived in front of me & gratefully drank that

as I ordered another next tap down a group of twelve arrived

to sit outside on the high table there in the evening sun

one of the dozen had a small silly hat on must be the birthday boy

I thought as they sat him end of the table & sang a song to him

beers were ordered & brought out with samples of sausages

then a shout of Schnapps! went up & the waitress found a tray

she looked at me & winked as she filled one shot glass with schnapps

then filled the other eleven with water from the tap in front of us

these she took out carefully making sure who got water got schnapps

& as the next cry of Scnapps! went up did this eleven more times

the birthday boy could not understand why he was getting drunk

while nobody else seemed the worse for wear

& it is said the Germans have no sense of humor

but you weren’t there man

in some ways

roundabout seven

she’d called to say

come round see you then

I’ll leave the door open

I was there at seven

well around about it

pushed the door open went in

& she was not there

the evidence of her was there

the usual mess bra’s on light-shades

the floor makeup scattered

mixed in with underwear shoes belts

magazines of how things should be

in some ideal home

I made myself a drink

flicked half-hearted at the articles

50 ways to improve your home

sex life tips

does he really love me? shit

took another look around & left

I was just another bit of her life

carelessly tossed to one side

did I ever go back?

oh yeah the sex was just great

I guess the magazines had helped her

in some ways

indoor coward

those winter days

rolled through slow

times I couldn’t afford the gas

stayed under the covers for warm

& wondered if today was the day

to let it all go

end the pain

there were pills there

being an indoor coward

I feared the rope & kicking

pills & booze & wait in hope

there was enough to do the job

& waking up the next day

the next day

understanding finally

the loneliness had found a home

it was time to make peace

stuck

stuck she says

& I cannot move

though I hate it here

well I guess that’s what

works for you right now I said

otherwise you’d be on your way

the tears begin to fall all slow

but I’m stuck don’t you understand?

I can help you begin to see clear

but I figure you don’t want that way

what keeps you glued to the ground

is the foundation you put there once

thought it’d keep you safe & sound

& if I chip away at all of that?

what will work for you best

is for you to begin to see

the future you really want

another place other than here

oh you she said

your poet notions daft

if I could do that

you think I’d be here stuck?

& I the daft poet wandered away

unstuck

they say

kids are resilient

they say

give them time

& they will get over it

& this they want to believe

not for the kids you understand

but for themselves

otherwise they would need to do more

& the kids themselves understand

learn that they must shut up

grow hard skin over the wound

pretend all is ok

& just like all the other wounded soldiers

our burying ground

is internal

old screen queen

she held herself

as a great beauty

old screen queen

all five foot nothing

bottle blonde hair red nails lips

wearing styles she felt fitted her status

was always between men

could keep them for a year maybe two

either she’d move them out

or one day there was space they’d be gone

& there was never much clarity

how each had failed her again

this long line of Bobs Bills Kens Tims or Lens

the one constant in her life

were the crowd of gay men

these existed as her horde

she loved to buy wine & drink with

look after light her cigarettes

hang on to most every word

these were her loved ones

beyond all others in the world

the real stars in her firmament

& I was another friend watching on

until late night one such leaned over

whispered she’s such a dog isn’t she?

& after that I could never go back

to be part of a knowing betrayal

it was me

made the running

filled in the gaps

all in my head

I was lonely

but did not know that

& a smile a kiss

some time spent together

could make me think

what we had was more

than it ever was

& it took me so long to get there

I had yet to learn to surrender

get to be good with me

& that takes some time

& the next one you meet

who thinks you will do it all

the running the thinking

filling in the gaps

gets the surprise

you

are not like the others

this way

I never have to see you get old

hear your voice

wavering there on the phone

forgetting I was once your son

mixing up the names of your progeny

noticing there by your ear

more grey than natural bold

half-light than dark in your memories

& this way

I owe you nothing

much as it seemed you felt

you owed me

maybe some coloring

mixed up traits or genes

& let nature take the rest

eh?